Holiday Free School Meals
For the first week of the Easter Holiday, we are providing meal kits and activities to help make learning to cook fun for children who receive Free School Meals (FSM) as well as free school meal vouchers for the Easter school holiday.
Parents who apply will be provided with a Home Cooking Kit and Activity pack, which includes step-by-step video tutorials for parents/caregivers and children to cook tasty meals together.
The packs are for the first week only and are part of the Holiday and Activities and Food Programme, funded by the Department for Education (DfE). The packs are in addition to free school meal vouchers which will be available for both weeks of Easter half term. These vouchers are provided by Gloucestershire County Council as part of its response to pressures faced by Gloucestershire families during the Covid-19 pandemic. You can read more about our Holiday Hunger Programme on our website.
Parents and caregivers will need to apply for the kits using the link below. If you do not apply, you will not receive a kit.
For Easter we are offering the programme in this way due to COVID restrictions. We hope for a more face to face offer in the summer and at Christmas.
If you have any queries, please ring the helpline on 01452 426165 (during office hours, 9am-5pm) or alternatively e-mail email@example.com.
Home Cooking and Activity Kit FAQs
What is the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) Programme?
The Holiday Activities and Food programme was introduced by the government in 2018 to provide healthy food and enriching activities to eligible children when schools are closed. Funding is given to local authorities to offer free support to families during the school holidays.
The county council was awarded £1.5 million pounds to provide an additional six weeks of support during the school holidays for families in Gloucestershire.
Due to the current restrictions imposed by the government, the Holiday Activities and Food programme (HAF) will be delivered virtually for the Easter half-term.
How will it work?
During the first week of half-term, we will provide activities to all children eligible for Free School Meals. These will include sessions of storytimes, physical activity, fun creative sessions, cook along sessions and many more. Please check out the schedule of activities for the 4 days on the landing page All activities will be suitable for children aged 5 to 16. They will be available on the HAF web page which can be accessed here through the Gloucestershire County Council website.
Families will also be able to collect a Home Cooking Kit which contains recipe cards and enough food/ingredients for 4 meals, as well as an Activities Pack with things to do for that week.
These will be available for pick up from a collection point in their local area. Parents will be required to complete an application form in order for us to allocate and distribute the Home Cooking Kits and Activity Packs.
How do I know if I am eligible?
The HAF program is open to all families who are currently in receipt of free school meals during term time.
When will the HAF programme run?
The HAF programme will run for a total of six weeks across the next financial year -one week at Easter, four weeks during the summer holidays, and one at Christmas - and it will include four hours of support and a hot meal four days each week.
How do families get the HAF programme Home Cooking Kit and Activity packs?
Once families have applied they will be emailed details of the nearest collection point by Monday 29 March 2021. The Home Cooking Kits and Activity Packs will be available for pick up on Wednesday 31st March 2021.
Some families in Gloucester will have pick up home cooking kits daily in the first week the Easter Holidays.
How is this different from the free school meal vouchers provided earlier in the year?
The holiday free school meal vouchers we provide in Gloucestershire are funded by the county council through its Holiday Hunger fund to make sure that no child in Gloucestershire goes hungry. They will be available during the first and second week of Easter half term for families who have applied. The payment will be made in one go.
The HAF programme funding from government is additional support which is given to local authorities with instructions on how it should be used during the weeks it is run.
The scheme is designed to teach children about healthy eating, with ingredients, recipe cards, cook along videos, and many other activities. It offers much wider support for families than vouchers alone which would not provide the same broader learning experience children receive from the HAF programme.
Can I have vouchers instead of the Home Cooking Kit?
For the first week of Easter half term, families can apply for vouchers and the home cooking kit. Parents must sign up for both separately before the deadline.
I have already registered for free school meals why do I have to register again?
The HAF programme involves the distribution of home cooking kits and activity packs in time for families to use them at half term. We need all eligible families to apply separately for the HAF programme so that we have accurate numbers and are able to distribute the packs in good time.
Will the home cooking kits be suitable for families with specific needs?
We have made every effort to make sure that the home cooking kits are healthy, nutritious and suitable for families. We recognise that some families may have specific needs or dietary requirements and we have taken care to make sure that the home cooking kits take into account religious, cultural, allergy and dietary requirements.
If you have a dietary requirement please contact The Childrens Fund email address at firstname.lastname@example.org before 5pm Friday 26 March 2021.
I received Holiday Free School Meal food vouchers for the February half term; do I need to apply again?
You do not need to reapply for free school meal vouchers again if you have received them before.
Only fill out the application form if you are interested in receiving a Home Cooking Kit to coincide with the first week’s activities.
If you have previously applied for free school meal vouchers, your voucher will be supplied automatically for this holiday to cover the first and second week of half term.
Is there a deadline for applications?
For Home Cooking Kits the deadline is 5pm Friday 26 March 2021. For Holiday Free School Meal vouchers is is 5pm Monday 29 March.
What activities will be available for my children?
The HAF page with all information about activities for Easter Holiday will be available soon.
Where can I get my Home Cooking Kit and Activity Pack?
You will be notified via email by the 29 March regarding the collection point which will be in your local area.
What if I am unable to collect my Home Cooking Kit and Activity Pack but I would like one?
Please contact The Childrens Fund email address at email@example.com before 5pm Friday 26 March 2021.
How much will I receive in vouchers for the Easter Half Term?
You will receive a voucher equivalent to your free school meal entitlement of £15 per child, per week. Therefore, for the Easter Half Term, if you were to have 2 Children, you would receive one £60 voucher as a one off payment for Easter.
I haven’t signed up before for a Holiday Free School Meal food voucher, what do I need to do?
Fill out the application; please tick both boxes at the end if you would like to receive both a Home Cooking Kit for the first week of half term and a food voucher. If you do not require a Home Cooking Kit please do not tick the box at the end of the survey.
Where do the vouchers for half term come from?
The voucher company is called Black Hawk. You will receive an e-mail from the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is not spam, but may come through into your junk folder, so please check this regularly.
Once received please follow the instructions to redeem the voucher.
I have the e-mail from email@example.com but the voucher has not come through yet, what can I do?
Once you have clicked on the link within the e-mail and selected the supermarket you would like to use, the e-voucher should come through within an hour of completing this.
If for any reason your voucher does not come through after having selected your supermarket, please contact Black Hawk on the following number: 0344 693 9901.
Which supermarkets can I use the voucher at?
The following supermarkets are part of this voucher scheme:
- ASDA (can be used online)
My e-mail address has changed but I haven’t informed anyone, what can I do?
The vouchers will be sent to the e-mail address you have supplied. If you have received vouchers previously and your e-mail address has changed since then please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org providing details of your name, and your child’s name, your old e-mail address, your new e-mail address and when you first registered for vouchers.
For any other queries please contact The Childrens Fund email@example.com where a member of the team can help you.