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Over 9000 school pupils across the city received free holiday activities and food in 2022

Published: Thursday, 23rd March 2023

A hugely popular scheme that has supported thousands of children across the city with healthy food and fun activities during school holidays continues to reach new milestones.

The partnership approach between Stoke-on-Trent City Council, The Hubb Foundation and local schools to deliver the Department for Education funded Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme saw 9,690 school children take part in sessions across Easter, Summer and Christmas holidays in 2022.

Over the course of 2022:

  • 1,052 sessions took place across the city
  • 54,273 healthy meals were provided
  • 1,620 food hampers were delivered
  • 83 partners took part during the Easter holidays
  • 122 partners took part during the Summer holidays
  • 86 partners took part during the Christmas holidays

Council leader Abi Brown said: “Improving outcomes for children and young people in the city is our number one priority and I’m extremely proud of the HAF programme in Stoke-on-Trent which has been praised nationally.

“This is a large-scale operation involving numerous stakeholders but at the heart centred around ensuring we are doing all we can to make sure the next generation thrives.”

The Hubb Foundation’s Operations Manager Tom Beecham said “Collaboration has been pivotal in the way we support children, young people and their families during holiday periods within the HAF programme.

“We are grateful to each and every one our partners, schools and providers for playing a key role in creating fun, filled holiday memories for thousands of young.”

The success of HAF in the city comes as St Margaret Ward Catholic Academy which is part of The Newman Catholic Collegiate has been nominated for a national HAF 2023 award.

During the HAF 2022 programme the senior leadership team and teaching staff at St Margaret Ward Catholic Academy fully committed and invested their support during holiday periods and operated the kitchen to ensure those attending had access to a school meal standards lunch and also ensured breakfast and fruit was available for all who attended, particular when young people arrived hungry.

The outstanding provider had a willingness to change delivery to suit the needs of a wide range of ages. They tailored specific HAF activities for older student ages 13-15 to attend, and included them in the co-design of the programme. Since Easter 2022, the Newman Catholic Collegiate have supported 765 children.

Council leader Abi Brown continues: “It is great news that St Margaret Ward Catholic Academy has been nominated for this award. We operate a high percentage of sessions out of schools and these sessions offer a breadth of opportunities. Through HAF, schools are linked in with local businesses and children get to experience exciting and unique experiences in the comfort of a familiar location to them.”

Dominic McKenna, Principal, St Margaret Ward Catholic Academy said: “We really enjoy working in collaboration with The Hubb Foundation, together we have been able to utilise the HAF funding to provide enrichment opportunities for our students throughout the school holidays. Students have had many opportunities to participate in workshops within the school setting and also go on adventures off site which have included skiing, climbing and much more. Our provision is led by our fantastic team of school staff, who motivate, challenge and inspire our students during the holidays by providing enriching sessions from Cooking to Sports to Art.

“We understand that for some students, a school lunch may be the only hot meal that they eat and so our canteen staff are committed to providing hot meals during the holidays, where our canteen is always open. The HAF funding has had a phenomenal impact on our students, particularly the most vulnerable, providing them with somewhere safe to learn new skills over the holidays. In turn this supports student’s mental health and helps to improve their attendance in school during term time.”

Ian Beardmore, Catholic Senior Executive Leader, Newman Catholic Collegiate said: “The most vulnerable students from our feeder Primary Schools in the Newman Catholic Collegiate are also invited to our holiday provision. Many parents have commented that the sessions have had a tremendous, positive impact on their child’s transition to secondary school as they feel less nervous about the change. We thank the Hubb Foundation for their support during the holiday periods and we look forward to continuing to work with them as the number of children attending our sessions continues to grow.”

The 2023 Easter HAF programme is being delivered at both schools and in community venues. Sessions at community venues will be open to children and families. School-based sessions are being coordinated directly with school lead staff who have the best knowledge of the children in their care.

Activities are set to start on April 3 and run until April 14. Families can book on to the free sessions at www.thehubbfoundation.com.