Stuart Anderson MP was delighted to welcome Minister for Children and Families Will Quince MP to Wolverhampton to celebrate the success of the Holiday Activities and Food programme, which provides healthy meals, enriching activities, and free childcare places to children from low-income families. The visit took place on Tuesday, the 12th of April 2022. They went to see activities taking place at the Royal School in Wolverhampton, including arts and crafts, sports, fitness, and dance. Children and young people from Stuart’s own constituency participate in the Strive programme, which enriches the health and wellbeing of those who attend while contributing towards their educational recovery from COVID-19.
Following successful pilots between 2018 and 2020, the Holiday Activities and Food programme, which is designed to support children in receipt of free school meals through holiday periods, was rolled out to all upper tier local authorities in 2021 – delivering on the Government’s Flexible Childcare Fund commitment. Wolverhampton Council has been allocated £1.9 million to coordinate and provide free provision including healthy food and enriching activities in the Easter, Summer, and Christmas school holidays in 2022. Across the country, hundreds of thousands of children from disadvantaged families are benefitting from healthy food and extra-curricular activities, which is helping to level up children’s educational outcomes, provide better nutrition, and improve wellbeing, behaviour, and social skills. The Government is investing over £200 million in the Holiday Activities and Food Programme this year and has committed to do so every year for the next three years.
It is just one of the ways in which the Government is supporting local families. It was recently announced that Wolverhampton will have access to a share of £301 funding to help 75 local authorities to deliver better early help and intervention for families across a range of services, including health visiting, mental health support, parenting courses, and infant feeding advice. Working parents could also get up to £2,000 a year to pay for regulated childcare, including holiday clubs and out-of-school activities in the Easter holidays as part of the Tax-Free Childcare Offer. For every £8 deposited into an online account, families will receive an extra £2 in government top-up. It is available for children aged up to 11, or 17 if the child has a disability.
Stuart Anderson MP said: “It was my honour to welcome Families Minister Will Quince MP to Wolverhampton, who got to see the support being provided to local families during the school holidays. I would like to thank all members of staff involved in the Strive programme at the Royal School for their great work. The Holiday Activities and Food programme is just one way in which the Government is creating a better, brighter future for our city’s young people - with it recently being confirmed that Wolverhampton will also benefit from its share of a £301 million package to make it easier for families to access childcare and get the help that they need to ensure that their children get the best start in life.”