New Government HAF support package announced

9th November 2020

The Government’s recent announcement outlining a significant funding package to help alleviate child food poverty in the UK is a very welcome step in the right direction.

As one of the recipients of the Holiday Food and Activities grant this summer, we know just how much of a huge lifeline the extension of the scheme will be for thousands of children and young people.

However, as Marcus Rashford has warned, we must not forget the 1.7 million children living in food insecure households who do not qualify for extra support as the provision is exclusively for children eligible for Free School Meals (FSM). The FSM eligibility criteria is low, which means that thousands more children living in low income households do not qualify.

The funding is also not a comprehensive solution. As we understand it, only six of the 13 weeks of school holidays over the academic year will be supported, leaving seven weeks unfunded.

In addition, Local Authorities are not mandated to draw down this funding so councils could opt-out, leaving children in those areas vulnerable and without any support.

The next step must be to consider what can be done to protect the health and wellbeing of those falling through the gaps. At the Mayor’s Fund, we will continue to campaign for the extension of the scheme for all children and young people.

Since 2017, we have been doing all we can to end child food poverty and food insecurity through our Kitchen Social programme. If you are a local authority looking to provide holiday food and activities in your borough, we would love to hear from you.

To help us continue to provide holiday provision for all those who need it and protect young Londoners now and in the future, please donate to our appeal here.

About Kitchen Social

As London’s largest holiday provision provider, Kitchen Social has campaigned for all children from low income backgrounds to be able to access nutritious food, safe community venues and enriching activities during every school holiday since 2017.

We work with 100 community organisations across 23 boroughs. This year alone, our Covid-19 emergency response and our summer activity resulted in us delivering over 250,000 meals and countless more activities for children and families in some of London’s most deprived areas. We also developed an innovative Take & Make scheme which includes a box of ingredients to take away and make at home, supported by fun and engaging ‘how to’ videos for the whole family. Click here to watch our summer holiday video.

During lockdown, the programme ran an emergency response, with hubs delivering freshly prepared meals and activity packs direct to households. Over the summer, we were commissioned by the Department of Education to deliver the Holiday Activity and Food scheme in two London boroughs, delivering onsite activity and meals. Read about our Summer of Food and Fun programme here.

To become a delivery partner or to find out more, please contact Clara Widdison, Head of Social Inclusion, on

Click here to watch our summer holiday video.
Click here to read our impact report. 

About the Government’s announcement

The announcement outlines an extension of the Holiday Activities and Food programme, beginning this winter and then covering Easter, Summer and Christmas in 2021:

  • £170m Covid-19 Winter Grant Scheme to support children, families and the most vulnerable over winter
  • Holiday Activities and Food programme to be expanded, covering Easter, Summer and Christmas in 2021
  • Healthy Start payments set to rise from £3.10 to £4.25 a week from April 2021
  • Suite of measures represents long-term plan to help tackle poor health, hunger and education.