Support and activities for West Sussex families this half-term

Support is being provided to West Sussex children, young people and families who need it this half-term, October 24 to 30. Plenty of fun-filled events are also taking place over the week to keep the whole family entertained.

Free school meal food vouchers

West Sussex County Council is once again providing supermarket vouchers to every child who receives free school meals (benefits-related) over the half-term. Over 17,000 children will be given a £15 food voucher to spend at their family’s chosen supermarket. To date, The County Council has allocated £6.8m of its Household Support Fund to the voucher scheme since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Around 180,000 vouchers have so far been issued to schools to distribute to their eligible families for school holidays.

Nigel Jupp, Cabinet Member for Learning & Skills, said: “I am extremely pleased that we are again able to provide over 17,000 food vouchers to around 10,000 West Sussex households to support them over the October half-term. This underlines the Council’s ongoing commitment to helping families who are most in need, at a time when many are facing financial pressures.”

Half-term children’s activities at your library

Has your child been inspired by the England Lionesses becoming European football champions over the summer? Are they fans of Paralympic gold medallist swimmer Ellie Simmonds, now on Strictly Come Dancing, or Novak Djokovic, the winner of 21 tennis grand slams?

Then come and enjoy the free family activity Sporty Stars at a West Sussex library, where sporting figures will be celebrated with stories and crafts.

Most libraries have limited spaces so booking is required. Sign up for Sporty Stars at your nearest library on website.

Libraries run regular events for young children including Rhyme time and Story time, as well as special events, which you can find on our library website.

Halloween and other events

Across West Sussex there are plenty of activities to keep all ages entertained. Looking for some inspiration? Experience West Sussex can help.

With Halloween approaching, you can find details of spooktacular walks and as well as pumpkin finding and other events on the Experience West Sussex website.

Ongoing family support and fun this winter

Holiday Activities and Food Christmas programme

Our popular Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme is returning for the Christmas school holiday. 2395 eligible children took part over the summer break, enjoying a range of clubs and groups along with a nutritious meal. The free Christmas programme is open to all West Sussex children who receive benefits-related free school meals. Families will soon be able to book places at local clubs so keep checking our Holiday Activities and Food webpages, where you can also check if you’re eligible.

Family Hubs offering drop-in support

There are 12 Family Hubs across West Sussex with drop-in opening times for families and young people needing support.

Our ‘Find it Out’ offer is available to all young people in the county aged between 11 and 19. We also support young people up to 25 who have additional needs or who have experienced care.

Hubs can also help families with a range of other things, such as finding childcare, parenting, health advice, and help on how to access support to financial, legal or housing advice. Find your local Family Hub on our website.

Supporting children and young people’s mental health

Do you know a young person who is struggling? Your Mind Matters is a county council led campaign which aims to ensure young people, parents and professionals across West Sussex know where to get help with their emotional wellbeing and mental health, both in general and in times of crisis.

Cost of living support

West Sussex County Council is here to help with cost of living advice and support for families and individuals. On our new ‘Here to help – Cost of living’ webpages, people can find lots of practical advice to help them, as well as information about how to apply for extra local and national support.