Music, theatre, sport and outdoor adventure are among a wide variety of free activities on offer during the school holidays across East Suffolk this summer.
Numerous organisations have signed up to provide fun and food as part of a programme of experiences for children and young people over the coming weeks.
The Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme, backed by about £200million per year for the next three years, is aimed providing enriching activities to children and young people, particularly those in receipt of free school meals.
Holiday clubs may involve introducing young people to new experiences and skills, from dance and drama to cooking and gardening, as well providing opportunities for physical and social activity.
The local programme is targeted at those eligible for benefits-related free school meals, and other, vulnerable children, or those with additional need, that would benefit from accessing the programme.
Cllr Letitia Smith, East Suffolk Council's Cabinet member for Communities, Leisure and Tourism, said:
“The HAF programme is a great way to keep children entertained and engaged during the summer holidays.
“We know the impact currently being felt by families from the cost of rising food, energy and fuel, and that the holidays may present a further challenge for families with children who receive free school meals.
“I am glad to know that each of the holiday clubs includes a free meal and I would like to thank our local providers for helping us to offer such a varied HAF programme.
“The booking system is already up-and-running and ready for eligible families to access the programme.”
An interactive map showing available activities across the district and the rest of the county can be found at the Suffolk InfoLink website.
Among those on offer are Operation Camouflage, organised by the Army Welfare Service and East Suffolk Council, at Sutton Heath, near Woodbridge, and sporting activities provided by local authority leisure partner, Everyone Active, in Lowestoft.
Other providers include: Xtratime, Football Fun Factory, Marina Theatre, Seagull Theatre, Long Shop Museum, The Red House, Premier Education, East Gymnastics, Catch 22, Schools Out, Suffolk Wildlife Trust, The Art Station, Footstars, Go Geronimo, Reflex Theatre, Ultimate Boxing, Inspire Suffolk and Just 42.
The Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme is funded by the Department for Education through an annual budget from Suffolk County Council.
In October 2021, the government announced investment of more than £200m per year, over the next three financial years, following the successful roll out of the programme across England.
Local authorities have discretion to use up to 15% of funding to provide free or subsidised holiday club places for children who are not in receipt of benefits-related free school meals but who the local authority believe could benefit from HAF provision.