Holiday Activities and Food programme

Details about a Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme during the Easter, Summer and Christmas holidays.

1 Overview

The HAF programme is fully funded by the Department for Education and offers children who are entitled to benefits related free school meals the opportunity to attend participating holiday activity clubs and have a free meal.

Benefits-related free school meals (FSM) are available to pupils if their parents are in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits and have a claim verified by West Sussex County Council.

For further information on how to apply for FSM, please see our useful links section.

Eligible children can attend their chosen HAF provision for a maximum of four days per week for one week at Easter, four weeks during the Summer and one week at Christmas.

2 Aims of the HAF programme

As a result of this programme, we want children who attend this provision to:

  • eat healthily over the school holidays
  • be active during the school holidays
  • take part in engaging and enriching activities which support the development of resilience, character and wellbeing along with their wider educational attainment
  • be safe and not to be socially isolated
  • have a greater knowledge of health and nutrition
  • be more engaged with school and other local services.

We also want to ensure that the families who participate in this programme:

  • develop their understanding of nutrition and food budgeting
  • are signposted towards other information and support, for example, health, employment and education.

3 Types of providers

At West Sussex County Council we pride ourselves in offering a wide variety of different activity clubs for eligible HAF children to access across the county. We hope all children receive exemplary care whilst hopefully experiencing something new and exciting.

Some of our past providers have included:

  • forest and beach schools
  • skateboarding tuition
  • table tennis
  • music production
  • computer programming
  • sports and multi skills
  • multi activity camps
  • arts and crafts.

4 How to access HAF

All HAF bookings must be made using the online HAF booking system. You will be able to book a maximum of 4 sessions in the Easter holidays, 16 in the summer holidays and 4 sessions in the Winter holidays.

The length of the session will depend on which provider you choose, but each session will be a minimum of 4 hours long. One session = One HAF credit.

The first time you use the booking system you will be required to create an account. Once you have access to the booking system, you will be able to search for a suitable HAF provider and make bookings for your child/children. A separate booking needs to be made for each child you wish to attend your selected activity.

You will require your child’s HAF code to register, this will be the same code you have used previously. If you do not have your HAF code, please check your award letter from the Free School Meal Team in the first instance. If the letter does not show your HAF code, you can ask your child’s school office or email us at

If you require support to access the internet or to complete the registration form, you can find this by visiting your local Family Hub.

Register and make a HAF booking (external link)

Summer HAF places will be available to book from Monday 10 June 2024.

5 Contact the HAF team

You can contact the HAF team by emailing We do not currently have a contact telephone number.

You may be able to find the answer to your question in the FAQ section.

6 FAQs

My child starts primary school in September 2024 and has been issued a HAF code, can they attend summer activities?

No, a HAF code is not valid until they have started at primary school. Children starting primary school in September 2024 will be able to access HAF for the first time over the winter holidays.

My child is in Key Stage 1 and receives a free school meal, are they eligible for the HAF programme?

No, unfortunately not. This is the universal Free School Meal offer and does not make a child eligible for the HAF programme. To access the HAF programme you must be in receipt of benefits related free school meals. Please check the Free school meal website to see if you may be eligible.

Can my child attend more than one HAF provider during the same school holiday?

Yes, they can. As long as you do not exceed the maximum entitlement of four days per week for one week at Easter, four weeks during summer and one week at Christmas.

I live in a different county but want to attend a club in West Sussex, is that possible?

Yes, it is. You will need to apply to the county that you live in for either a HAF code, if they offer one, or proof of eligibility. Once you have this, contact us directly at to book a place. HAF codes that have not been issued by West Sussex County Council will not be recognised by our booking system, so you won’t be able to create an account.

Please see our useful links section to access websites of our neighbouring counties.

My child receives Pupil Premium, are they eligible for the HAF programme?

West Sussex County Council currently priorities children who are eligible for benefits related free school meals.

My child has an EHCP and requires additional support, do you have any specialist provision?

We work very closely with our providers to meet the needs of all children eligible for HAF. Please speak to the provider at the time of booking to discuss your child’s individual needs. If you cannot find anything suitable, please contact the HAF team for support.

I can’t find a suitable provider when I search on the booking system. What should I do?

This may be because booking isn’t open yet. Once booking does ‘go live’ more providers will be added daily, so please do check back in a few days. If you still can’t find anything, please contact us at and we will try our best to find something suitable. If we can’t find anything, we always appreciate feedback to help our future planning.

Do HAF clubs run during the half term holidays in February, May and October?

No, HAF places are only available during the Easter, Summer and Winter holiday periods.

I can’t cancel a HAF session using the booking system, what can I do?

The booking system will not allow you to cancel a session if it is within 24 hours of the activity start time. If you need to cancel your place, please contact the provider directly. The contact details should be on your confirmation email.

8 Information for providers

West Sussex County Council offers grant funding to providers to deliver activities and food during the school holidays. You can submit a proposal using the online Expression of Interest form. This enables us to award grants in an efficient and transparent manner according to agreed funding criteria.

Last updated:
24 May 2024
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