Holiday Activity Fund 2020

The Holiday Activity Fund for 2020 has now come to an end. Find out more about HAF 2021 here:

In 2020, Edsential CIC and Partners were successful in accessing funding to coordinate Holiday Activity and Food provision over the summer holiday period in West Cheshire, Halton and Wirral for 2020. Our aim was to support over 56% of eligible Free School Meal children across the Local Authorities:

Cheshire West and Chester



Activity Clubs in Cheshire West

For a full description of the Activity Clubs in Cheshire West please Click Here

Activity Clubs in Halton

For a full description of the Activity Clubs in Halton please Click Here

Activity Clubs in Wirral

For a full description of the Activity Clubs in Wirral please Click Here

Impact of Holiday Activity Fund 2020

Families across west Cheshire, Wirral and Halton were able to enjoy free, nutritious food and activities at a wide range of exciting clubs over the 2020 summer holidays. Funded by the Department for Education, the Holiday Activity Fund received by Edsential was able to support over 11,400 children across local boroughs, at a time when such provision for young people and their families was needed more than ever.

With the help of our local partners, we were able to support and provide funding for over 100 community, voluntary and faith sector organisations, along with schools, who jointly delivered:

  • Over 147,000 healthy meals and 97,000 family food and activity parcels.
  • Over 155,000 activity-filled attendance days, with physical activities such as dance, yoga and adventure play, plus diverse enrichment activities including arts and crafts and forest school.
  • Creative online provision, receiving over 76,000 user interactions.


“This food and activity have been a God send to my family I don’t know how we would of coped” – Parent

“Thank you so much for our parcel and activity packs, my boys were over the moon with the birdhouses ” Parent

“I am a single dad and the fact that the cooking ingredients were all measured and the recipe was so easy to follow along with the video meant that me and my two daughters could have lots of fun in the kitchen” – Parent

“It’s so nice to see my friends again” – Child 

“Can I come on Monday as well it is so much fun!” – Child 

“We loved making the fruit kebabs and our lunch” – Child 

“Had great fun playing cricket and tennis today”- Child 

“I want to come every day”- Child 

“Robin was really impressed with the information and organisation of the folders shared with him. He had everything he needed which made for a hassle free Audit!” – External Auditors

‘MP Justin Madders visited the sessions this week and enjoyed the dancing…Many children have had such a fab time they are signing up to continue with LATC and FSM children will get free places with us.” – Little Actors Theatre Group

“Seeing friends reunite after months apart and seeing them return to school reserved and nervous but them leaving enjoying school again and saying how much fun it was” Blacon Educational Village

Impact Report

Impact Assessment of Holiday Activity and Food Provision: Summer 2020

University of Chester

Assessment of Provision and Coordination under Covid-19

HAF 2020 Celebration Event

20th January saw the Edsential Holiday Activity Fund celebration event go online!

Providers across the 3 local authorities were able to come together to share the positive impact that the Holiday Activity Programme had during the summer period of 2020. During the session we celebrated the amazing work that went on across the boroughs, looked ahead to HAF2021, and heard from three diverse providers:

  • Bridge Community Gardens – Cheshire West
  • Carrbridge centre – Wirral
  • Power in partnership – Halton

HAF Provider Application Form

HAF New Supplier Form

Applications for HAF2020 have now closed.

Applications for HAF2020 have now closed.

Provider Training

All of our HAF2020 provider training has now come to an end

FAQs for Providers

What if we are still on lockdown?

We encourage groups to look at what they could deliver online, for some groups this may not be possible but for others you may have been doing some of this already.  The funding bid has section to put what you could provide online, you will also need to submit a separate budget for this.

What about food provision?

Edsential and partners are working alongside community food hubs to link in the food offer, this is ever changing area. We are keen to link groups to the hubs for they can potentially provide food support beyond the life of the summer programme. Food may be provided in the way of parcels, packed lunches and re heat fresh meals. We are still working on how this will look and will keep you updated.

However If groups feel that they want to provide food they can do, this will need to be outlined in the proposal and budget where relevant.

What if we apply for funds and we are still in lockdown?

Funds that won’t be spent in the summer holiday period between 20th July and – 31st August won’t be transferred. Any funds that aren’t spent will be returned to the DfE. Edsential and local partners will ensure that funds will support the food offer for families with children that are eligible for free school meals for the DfE plan to stop their current provision over the summer holiday period. This co-ordination will be done centrally, and groups may be asked if they can support with elements of this.

What online delivery could be funded?

Online delivery will be placed on the HAF Edsential website, examples of provision that you could apply for funds are physical activities, yoga, mindfulness sessions, making a garden in a tub, heathy cooking, learning a new skill etc. These will be made available for all groups. Most of these online resources would need to be ready before the start of the summer holidays.

What can the funding be used for?

Examples on what funding can be used for include but not exclusive to food costs, activity costs, essential activity equipment needed to deliver  I.e balls, frisbees, arts and craft materials, kitchen equipment, physical instructors, staff, volunteer expenses.

Who can apply for the funding?

We welcome bids from community groups, schools, sports clubs etc. Any organisation with a registered bank account can apply. However groups must have all relevant policies in place. Staff working with young people where parents aren’t present must have gone through DBS clearance. These are listed on the application form.

What evidence do I need to collect?

The DfE have stipulated as part of the condition of the funding that we need to collect data on the following.

Name, date of birth, postcode, self-declaration on free school meals eligibility and if statemented with special educational needs or disabilities, date of attendance of the sessions and session length.

Groups will also be requested to share  time tables of provision, evidencing the delivery of physical activity, healthy meals and nutritional Education.

What does 4x4x4 provision mean?

By 4x4x4, we mean provision which can offer  ideally we want to see as a minimum 4 hours a day, for 4 days a week and for 4 weeks of the holiday in each area, however we are aware that this may not be possible but will strive to meet this where we can. Please note that given the ongoing situation with COVID-19, ‘provision’ refers to both in-person provision where this is permissible and virtual provision (e.g. online courses, videos and activities).

What is the age range and who is the provision to target?

The provision should support children and young people aged 4-18yrs, however family groups can be funded where parents attend alongside young people. Provision should primarily target those on free school meals or who you are aware would benefit from the additional support. We would not expect you to exclude a child who doesn’t receive free school meals that is part of a peer group that is attending.


Free school meals apply to those children that the school claims the pupil premium for. Although all Key stage 1 children receive universal free school meals this doesn’t not mean that they are all elligible.

How much match funding does there have to be?

There is no fixed cost for match funding, often this may be volunteer/staff time, food already sourced, premises and venues etc

How much can I apply for?

There is no set amount that you can apply for however organisations that are applying for grants over £20k  to cover large geographical areas and supporting a large number of young people will be paid in 2 payments the first half will be upfront and the second half will be paid on evidence of successful delivery in August.

When do bids open and Close?

Bids will open on the 11th May and close on the 16th of June. Groups will be informed of the outcome of their bid the week commencing 15th June. We encourage groups to get the bids in before the last day to help us speed up the process and give us time to ask any questions if needed also to help us identify gaps of provision.

When will we receive funding if successful?

We anticipate funds to be transferred the week commencing the between the 30th June – 3rd of July

I would like to discuss the bid with someone, who can I contact?

General questions should go to  or

Central Co-ordinator –

Wirral –

Cheshire West and Chester –

Halton –

Halton –

What Policies and insurances are needed?

  • Organisations must have the following policies in place
  • Ofsted registered where relevant
  • Safeguarding policy
  • Health and Safety
  • Equal opportunities this may sometimes come under your Equality and Diversity policy
  • Media policy (if applying to deliver online resources)
  • Public liability insurance
  • Employers liability insurance

What is meant by the minimum standards?

Physical Education and Wellbeing  –You should try and have upto at least 1 hr of physical  activity this can include gardening, walking, nerf wars, yoga etc as well as your traditional physical activity such as football.

Enrichment Activities – This can be anything ranging from arts, crafts, music, learning new things, cooking, Lego , science activities,  loose parts play,  story telling, activities will help develop fine and gross motor skills

Healthy meals – These must comply with the school food standard which can be found Here

Nutritional Education – This is not as complex as it sounds, it can range from tasting new foods, grouping foods into groups, planting and growing vegetables, understanding lables and cooking healthy meals. For further support see Public Health England’s Eat Well Guide Here

Family Cooking- Where possible we encourage groups to deliver or provide family cooking sessions, this will support parent on how to cook healthy meals on a budget.

How will we promote our service to the right young people?

Edsential will collate all the provision in each local Authority and will be able to email all schools to promote to the relevant families. We would expect organisations to also promote locally.

Can parents and carers get involved?

Yes, parents and carers can be and are encouraged to be involved in any of the sessions so they can gain skills and knowledge surrounding health and nutrition.

Useful Information & Dates for Providers

Grants will open on the 11th of May – Closing Date 16th June 2020. We will be holding an online discussion and Q&A session on the following dates:

          – Wirral – 15th May 1.30pm – 2.30pm

          – Halton – 22nd May 10.30am – 11.30am

          – CWAC – 28th May  1 – 2pm 

To book your place, please email along with any question you wish us to cover.

Top Tips

  • Add salad to sandwiches.
  • Have carrot/cucumber sticks to nibble on or sweetcorn cobs or make cheese, pineapple and tomato kebabs (hedgehog!)
  • Add fruit to any dessert e.g. slice of apple, cup of grapes, segment of orange.
  • Use ‘half and half’ (half white, half brown/wholemeal) pasta and bread so that the children are encouraged to eat some wholemeal – or use white on one side of the sandwich, brown on the other and place it white side up!
  • Chicken, Turkey and Ham are good sources of protein in sandwiches.
  • Pancakes are easy to make with the children, are tasty and, with fruit, a good pudding or breakfast – look for sneaky recipes that add oats and other healthy things!
  • Oven baked sweet potato wedges are a good way of adding a vegetable into a meal.
  • Grating or blending vegetables such as carrot, mushrooms and courgette into sauces, like a bolognese or curry so it isn’t as noticeable.
  • Add pineapple, tomato or mushrooms to pizza to add vegetables.
  • Encourage children and families to cook with you – others also provide this support such as the Food Bank.
  • Eggs on toast with a side of baked beans are a good source of protein as is Jacket Potato with Beans.

If you want further advice and guidance or have any other questions, please email

Holiday Activity Fund Impact Assessment University of Chester 2019

Here are the findings for Holiday Activity Fund Impact Assessment University of Chester 2019