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Free holiday activities and food for children most in need this Christmas

Published: Friday, 10th December 2021

Free holiday activities and food for children most in need this Christmas

School pupils across Stoke-on-Trent will receive free hot meals and access to a range of activities over the Christmas holidays.

Children across the city will benefit from a range of fun and educational activities and food thanks to a unique partnership between Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the Hubb Foundation. 

The winter 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.

Online resources for families to access will also be available via www.thehubbfoundation.com.

Available to children aged between five and 16 and primarily aimed at children who are eligible for free school meals, the sessions will include a range of physical activities, arts and crafts and exciting new experiences run by expert organisations including STEM activities.  A healthy meal will be also be provided for each attendee.

Activities will start on December, 18, 2021 and run until January 4, 2022, including activities and Christmas dinner at Port Vale Football Club on December 25.

The Government’s HAF fund primarily supports children who receive free school meals. However, in Stoke-on-Trent, many more children across the city are able to access the Christmas activities programme.

Councillor Abi Brown, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council said: “In Stoke-on-Trent, our number one priority is improving outcomes for our children and young people. We want the best for all our children and we are determined to do all we can to make sure the next generation thrives.

“During our summer programme across 36 days, over 38,294 free active, enjoyable and enriching opportunities were provided across 808 sessions to children. Parents in the city shared how they particularly appreciated HAF after the last year of Covid-19 and how the free activities meant their children could try new experiences they would not usually be able to afford. We are delighted that alongside the Hubb Foundation, vulnerable children in the city will still get to experience the magic of Christmas.”

Adam Yates, Chief Operations Officer for the Hubb Foundation, said: “Following our busiest ever summer and a successful October half term delivery, the Hubb team is delighted to again be working with the city council to ensure that children and families who really need help over the festive period are not forgotten.

“In the wake of the announcement of yet more Covid restrictions, we are entering another period of anxiety and uncertainty and we hope to provide reassurance, support and a little happiness for children and young people most in need here in Stoke-on-Trent.”

Families can book on to the free sessions at www.thehubbfoundation.com.

This comes as thousands of families across Stoke-on-Trent who are entitled to free school meals, are also set to be given supermarket vouchers during the Christmas school holiday.

The city council are working in partnership with Wonde to issue supermarket vouchers to support families on free school meals and families where children have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) in place over the Christmas holiday. Each family will get a £35 voucher per child. This follows on from the October half term holiday where food vouchers where provided to 15,484 children in the city.

Councillor Abi Brown, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council continues: “We’re really pleased to be able to provide food vouchers again to support families as households continue to recover from the impact of the pandemic and especially over the festive period which can be a pinch point for many families.

“Families do not need to apply for a voucher if their child is at a school in the city – schools will issue the vouchers directly for children who are eligible to receive them. We would ask families to contact their school if they haven’t received a voucher by the start of half-term.

“We would also ask city families with a child in receipt of an EHCP who attends a school outside the city or are educated at home to check our website to see if they are eligible for a voucher, and if so they can also apply online via www.stoke.gov.uk/foodvouchers or calling 01782 234234.”

The scheme is funded by the Department of Work and Pensions in order to help families access food and essential supplies. The vouchers can be redeemed at supermarket such as; Aldi, Asda, Iceland, McColls, Morrisons, Sainsburys, Tesco and Waitrose.