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  • Writer's pictureBeth Nunn

Sun's out, HAF's out!

Our latest installment of the HAF Programme has been four weeks over the summer holidays. Gemma, Beth, Antony, Annabel, Caroline, Niamh & Millie worked collaboratively over PIE’s four weeks, including further visits from Jen Samani and the Start Point Team. We had a brilliant and busy time, so it’s time for a quick reflection before our next installment!

We have been running HAF Programmes (in some form!) since the programme was first launched in summer 2021. This project is from the Government fund for Holiday Activities and Food Fund. Find the full info here, but here are some of the reasons why this fund exists and why it’s important to us to be involved:

“Research has shown that the school holidays can be pressure points for some families. For some children this can lead to a holiday experience gap, with children from low-income households being:

· less likely to access organised out-of-school activities

· more likely to experience ‘unhealthy holidays’ in terms of nutrition and physical health

· more likely to experience social isolation

The HAF programme is a response to this issue, with evidence showing that free holiday clubs can have a positive impact on children and young people, and that they work best when they:

· provide consistent and easily accessible enrichment activities

· cover more than just breakfast or lunch

· involve children (and parents) in food preparation

· use local partnerships and connections, particularly with the voluntary and community organisation sector”

This holiday provision is primarily for school aged children from reception to year 11 (inclusive) who receive benefits-related free school meals, aiming to provide support and at least one meal for children per session.

As an organisation, we move in the space between school, community & home so we have been keen to be involved in this programme from the beginning. So far, we have council funded programmes during each of the council funded holidays, as well as offering provision via our own profits in the other school breaks. Each time we run the programme, we link in with new families and we are growing each time! We have supported over 50 families since the programme began.

This summer we have run our own provision in Marple over four weeks, with four sessions per week. we have involved a large variety of activities from poetry to farm visits, crafts to climbing! We have also had partnerships delivery HAF provision with Starting Point Community Café and Stockport County Community Trust. This has meant that we have delivered 22 full days of holiday provision, supporting over 100 different young people over the summer break. So, in a word, it has been BUSY!

Our PIE Community Lead Gemma had this to say:

Marple Summer HAF has been a huge success. We have welcomed back families and opened our doors to new ones. We have watched friendships form and confidence grow.

During the four weeks we have enjoyed lots of outdoor play, we have fully taken advantage of the beautiful outdoor space and sunshine we’ve been lucky to have this summer. It’s been really lovely to watch the children fully engage in imaginative play, a firm favourite this HAF has been making a shop selling high-value items such as leaves and twigs! As always, we have gone craft crazy making key rings, mosaic pieces and bracelets.

Each Thursday our children were lucky enough to go on trips to The Garden House to see the animals, Marple Cinema to watch the new Minions film, local parks to explore the play areas and Rope Race for a fantastic rock-climbing session. We were so proud of all the children for facing their fears during our trip to Rope Race and having a go. It was important to us to support local businesses on our trips, we felt it was vital to introduce children to local activities on their doorstep they may not have been aware of.

This summer we have continued to build on our relationship with our friends at Stockport County. Each Tuesday we were treated to a fantastic sports session with Dodgeball becoming a firm favourite with all the children.

We also welcomed crafty Jen Samani, who did a full session with us. PIE have worked with Jen on various projects over the years, so were thrilled for her to get involved in HAF. Her creative session was a huge hit with our children, including mosaic making using recycled materials and tote bag decorating, using beach themes and back to school designs. The children were thrilled to have something to take home! We look forward to welcoming her to HAF again soon. (You can find Jen here:

The HAF provision is vital to support families in our local community, many of our families would have struggled throughout the summer holidays without access to a programme like this. I’m so proud of our team and the HAF community we have created in Marple. We have built strong relationships with our children and their families we can’t wait to welcome everyone at Christmas.

Every Tuesday over summer, our School Delivery Lead Caroline travelled to Stockport County to run a session with their HAF group. She and her assistant Niamh worked with up to 50 young people each week! This large cohort were split into 3 groups – 4-6 year olds, 7-8 years and then 9+. Each week we had a particular craft focus and we covered all sorts over our time, from key rings to crowns, whilst also working on Stop Motion with iPads for the older students. Some of the older ones like doing some drawing on ProCreate on the iPads too, so we tried to build their skills on this week on week. Some of them became our helpers too staying with us all day!

We are so pleased with the breadth of activity and support we’ve been able to provide this summer, it’s a vital part of our community presence and we are looking ahead with excitement for our next HAF offer. A massive well done and thankyou to everyone involved and to our community partners. Bring on Christmas!

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