Derby’s free children’s holiday club programme returns for the summer

Mon 1 Jul 2024

Thousands of free holiday club places will be available to children in Derby over the summer thanks to the Derby Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme. Derby City Council is working in partnership with Community Action Derby to bring back the scheme for the summer holidays.

The HAF programme offers activities and food to children aged five to 16 who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals in Derby. Youngsters can learn new skills while socialising and having fun with their friends. They will also be provided with a healthy meal and given the opportunity to learn about healthy food and nutrition through food experiences and cookery sessions.

To be able to book a place at a HAF holiday club, parents must have their child’s own unique code. Parents with eligible children may already have received a code from their school, or will receive one soon. The code will remain valid while the child remains at the same school and places can’t be booked without it.

The holiday clubs offer a wide range of activities across the city. Children who love sport will be spoiled for choice with sessions including football, cricket, basketball, dodgeball, archery and wrestling. The clubs also encourage children to keep active in creative ways, including dance, yoga, orienteering and boccia. Other activities include music production, indoor climbing, drumming lessons or even tackling a challenging escape room!

Derby’s HAF scheme has gone from strength to strength since it launched in the city in 2021. This summer, there will be 38 providers offering a range of activities in all wards across the city, including six special educational needs and disability (SEND) specialists.

Two creative organisations have joined forces to provide specialist sessions for children with SEND. Freedom Foundation and Hubbub Theatre will deliver four days of fun and friendship at Déda with activities including song writing, street dance, singing, physical theatre and movement.

Katy Goodwin, Freedom Foundation programmes assistant, said:

As we enter our second year of delivering our SEND Release club at Déda, we're so excited to be collaborating for the first time with Hubbub Theatre Company. We look forward to reconnecting with returning children and welcoming newcomers to SEND Release this summer!

Sharon Buckby, Derby City Council’s Director of Learning, Inclusion and Skills, said:

Our holiday clubs have reached out to thousands of children across the city, making a real difference to them and their families. Not only is there a huge variety of exciting activities to choose from, children can also enjoy a nutritious meal and learn more about healthy food.

There are sessions across the city, so check the website to see what’s going on in your area and use your child’s unique code, which their school will provide, to book a place.

The HAF scheme aims to make the positive benefits of holiday clubs available to all those on benefits-related free school meals for at least four hours a day, four days a week for six school holiday weeks of the year. Families can find out more about HAF and by visiting the Derby HAF webpage, which lists details of the providers and their activities. Bookings can be made directly with the providers.