Nottingham City Council is expecting to be awarded up to £2m to continue supporting financially-vulnerable families until March 2025.
The authority is awaiting full confirmation of its latest award from the Department for Education (DfE) to deliver the Holiday Activity Fund (HAF) programme, but it is anticipated to be at least the £1.8m secured for 2023/24.
The HAF programme was first awarded to the City Council in 2021 and specifically aims to support children at risk of holiday hunger. The DfE devolves this funding to local authorities as they are best placed to understand their residents’ needs and distribute funds to organisations that support communities.
In Nottingham, it pays for funded holiday clubs for school children who receive free school meals and has delivered a mixture of sport and enrichment activities to ensure a broad range of activity.
Clubs run across the summer, half-term, Christmas and Easter holidays. More than 15,000 children have attended in recent years.
The programme works with local community groups and schools to support and strengthen existing community delivery. For 2023/24, Nottingham Forest Community Trust and Trent Bridge Community Trust were appointed as the joint lead organisations.
Councillor Cheryl Barnard, Portfolio Holder for Children, Young People and Education at Nottingham City Council, said: “This funding has become vital for many struggling families in our city and the latest award is very welcome during the ongoing national cost-of-living crisis.
“We are a city with high levels of deprivation and we know that residents have been hit especially hard with rising inflation and the cost of household basics spiralling in recent years.
“We want to help and this latest grant, which we’ve yet to learn the full value of, will make sure that children are not going hungry. Holidays should be a time for them to relax and recharge their batteries after a busy school term, so the fact that so many fun and free activity clubs are provided is a real boost.”
Nottingham City Council has previously endorsed Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford’s campaign to tackle holiday hunger.
At a meeting of the Full Council in November 2020, councillors highlighted the levels of child poverty in Nottingham and gave a commitment to support free school meals to children throughout the holidays in 2021 and 2022. This was extended through 2023.
The latest funding award will be discussed at the Council’s Executive Board meeting on Tuesday.