Free holiday clubs are available but filling up fast

Holiday Activities and Food places are still available this winter school holiday, but places are filling up fast. Eligible families should book their free place now to avoid disappointment.

The Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) places are available to all school-aged children who receive benefits-related free school meals. Families can search for the remaining places available on West Sussex County Council’s Family Information Service website.
You will need your HAF ID code to book a place, if you require support to find a suitable HAF provider or to find out your ID please email

West Sussex County Council is working with 41 providers across the county to run its Winter Holiday Activities and Food programme over the two-week school break, from Monday 19 December to Monday 2 January. A range of activities are still available and every child will be given a nutritious meal on each day they take part.

Festive library events

Festive events are being held in West Sussex libraries for every family to enjoy. Special Christmas Storytimes are running in many libraries for children aged eight and under and their families. Children are encouraged to wear their pyjamas and come with a torch and their favourite teddy to enjoy some new and classic Christmas stories. These events are free but pre-booking is essential. Find your local event and book on the library website.

Regular library groups including knit and natter, rhyme time and board game groups continue over the Christmas break, except those which fall on Christmas eve (Saturday, 24 December). These drop in groups are free and everyone is welcome to attend. Find the regular events taking place at your nearest library on our website.

Free school meals vouchers

Every West Sussex child who receives means-tested free school meals has been provided with a £30 supermarket food voucher (£15 per child, per week) for the Christmas holiday. West Sussex County Council has so far allocated £6.8m of its Household Support Fund from government to the voucher scheme, which started during the Covid-19 pandemic, and issued 180,000 vouchers to families via schools.

Nigel Jupp, Cabinet Member for Learning and Skills, said: “Children and families who enjoyed our summer Holiday Activities and Food gave some really positive feedback which shows how much of a success it was. It is running again over the Christmas holiday and I encourage eligible families to have a look at what’s on offer near them, especially for children who haven’t taken part before. Every child who receives benefits-related free school meals will again be given a food voucher, irrespective of if they take up holiday club places, demonstrating our Council’s commitment to supporting families this winter.”

Cost of living support

Those who need help or support in relation to the cost of living should visit, where there is information on a range of topics, from money management to energy saving, food and household costs, job seeking and benefits guidance, to how to access further support.