A PROGRAMME co-ordinated by Rossendale Leisure Trust to provide young people with free food and activities during the holidays has secured a further £200,000 for 2023.

Co-ordinator of Rossendale HAF – Holiday Activities and Food – Paul Gallagher said: “We are delighted to have secured another year of funding which enables us to continue to provide activities and free food over the main school holidays at Easter, Summer and Christmas.

“In 2022 we provided eight days at Easter over the two weeks, four full weeks in the summer holidays and a further four full days at Christmas.”

The Holiday Activity and Food programme is funded by the Department For Education and managed by Lancashire County Council.

In Rossendale at Christmas, sessions were held in 14 different venues across Rossendale and these were attended by 322 individuals.

Haslingden Community Link provided the food and 13 different providers planned activities, everything from dance and forest schools, animal handling to escape rooms,11 were from Rossendale and two from neighbouring boroughs.

Paul said: “Over the last year, we had 1,500 attendees on the programme which is provided free for young people in receipt of free school meals.

“We are now working through the applications we have received and will be putting together the programme for Easter.

“We will open the Easter HAF for bookings and issue timetables of venues and activities on March 6. That will remain open to March 24. Schools receive the information to send out to parents.

“Some of our sessions get booked up very quickly so I would urge parents to get their child booked in as soon as possible.

“Over Easter and Summer, Haslingden Community Link provide hot food for on site activities and venues within a two-mile radius as well as packed lunches. Supreme Catering, in Rawtenstall, provide healthy packed lunches for the rest of the venues.

“Through the pandemic and the Covid-recovery period, we had several providers inform us that were able to keep their business afloat because of the contract to provide HAF activities and food.

“It is important for us to keep the programme fresh, interesting and exciting for the young people who attend and that is why we are always looking for new providers to come forward and suggest new activities.” – Cathrine Smyth Media

Anyone wanting to know more about the HAF programme can contact Paul on paul.gallagher@rltrust.co.uk

For more information visit www.rltrust.co.uk/haf