William Eichler 21 December 2018

Whitehall launches £9m holiday programme for disadvantaged children

The Government today launched a £9m programme to provide disadvantaged children with free meals and activities during the school holidays.

Children and families minister Nadhim Zahawi has announced that organisations can now bid for a share of the fund to deliver holiday clubs for pupils eligible for free school meals during the 2019 summer break.

The scheme follows a £2m programme in the summer of 2018, which saw charities and community groups provide meals and activities to children from poorer backgrounds.

‘We supported more than 18,000 disadvantaged children through our investment this summer – giving young people access to nutritious meals and fun activities and helping us to understand how we can best support them during the holidays,’ said Mr Zahawi.

‘Following this successful programme we have increased funding to £9m for next year and will tailor the scheme so that it has the most benefit for young people and their families.

‘This will help deliver on our ambition for every child, regardless of their background, to reach their potential – building on our work to shrink the attainment gap in our schools and continue protection of the £2.4bn a year spent on the pupil premium for those who need it most.’

David White, director of the StreetGames ‘Fit and Fed’ campaign, commented: ‘Funding from the Department for Education over summer 2018 allowed our work to be improved and enhanced in 60 communities across England, supporting 2,600 children and young people at risk of holiday hunger, inactivity and isolation.

‘The sessions gave participants somewhere to go, something to do, and something to eat. Their impact was much greater than this, though. Children benefited from sport and activity sessions, day and residential trips away from home, cooking lessons, literacy programmes and arts and crafts, all delivered by a workforce trained to support disadvantaged young people – and for a unit cost of just £6.26 per child, per day.’

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