Wirral’s HAF programme brings festive fun for local kids

Thousands of local Children are set to enjoy an activity-packed Christmas break with the return of Wirral’s Holiday Activities with Food (HAF) Programme.

A network of 45 clubs and groups from across the peninsula will deliver a varied programme of activities, including arts and craft sessions, sports and dance, as well as lots of seasonal highlights, including ice skating and trips to the panto.

Heather Lewis, HAF Programme Manager, said, “We’re thrilled to offer an even more exciting range of festive activities this year for children and young people in Wirral. Our goal is to create a warm, festive, and welcoming atmosphere where children and young people can discover, flourish, and forge new friendships.

“As the Christmas holiday approaches, please check Edsential’s Facebook and X (formerly Twitter) channels and our website, to find out what’s on in your area. If your child has a specific need, we advise you to contact the club directly to ensure that their needs can be met, or so they can make reasonable adjustments for them.”

In addition to keeping the young ones active and entertained, the holiday programme will ensure that everyone taking part receives a nutritious meal each day, which has been made possible through a contribution from Wirral’s Household Support Fund.

The Chair of Wirral Council’s Committee for Children, Young People and Education, Councillor Sue Powell-Wilde, said, “Christmas is a special time of year, but it does bring some extra pressures for families. So it’s reassuring to know that thousands of young people will get to enjoy lots of good meals and some brilliant activities over the break.

“All of the organisations and community groups who open their doors to young people every Christmas, Easter and Summer holiday do a fantastic job, which I know is appreciated by everyone taking part and their families.”

The bumper holiday programme is coordinated for Wirral and Cheshire West and Chester Councils by the Community Interest Company, Edsential. Funding for the scheme has been provided by the Department for Education.

During the summer holiday the programme supported more than 4,500 local children and young people thanks to the voluntary, community, and faith-based organisations who ran more than 72 clubs across the borough.

The parent of a child attending the Prenton Rugby Holiday club this summer, said, “This remarkable club offers a diverse array of activities, all centred around promoting a healthy lifestyle. The staff, with their unwavering support and kindness, went above and beyond to accommodate my child, who has additional needs.

“Their constant assistance and understanding created a warm and inclusive environment, reassuring me that my child was not only safe but also genuinely cared for throughout the club sessions. Gratitude fills my heart for the exceptional care and consideration provided by the staff, making this experience truly invaluable for both my child and me.”

Places for the Christmas scheme are available for young people aged between 5-16 who are in receipt of benefits-related free school meals. Parents and carers are encouraged to check if their child is eligible for free school meals as it could enable them to take part in the Christmas and future holiday programmes and unlock a range of other support.

More information about free school meals is posted on the Wirral Council website

Information about Christmas holiday activity clubs across Wirral and how to apply is available on the Edsential website

Image: HAF/Edsential

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