24.11.22 – Staffordshire County Councils HAF Programme, Violence Reduction Alliance
Written by Hitmix Local News on 23 November 2022
Thousands of Staffordshire families are set to benefit from extra support during the Christmas school holidays.
Staffordshire County Council’s Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) programme is available to eligible children aged between five and sixteen on benefits related free school meals.
The programme includes physical play, fun activities, nutritional advice and a healthy hot meal where possible. Funding is provided by the Department for Education.
Mark Sutton, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Children and Young People, said: “With food prices and the cost of living rising, this programme will be crucial for many families over the Christmas holidays.
“The programme will give children access to a wide variety of activities and a hot meal, helping keep them well-fed and active over the school break. Since the scheme launched in summer 2021, more than 117,000 free places have been made available with a further 12,700 places being made available this Christmas.
“There’s lots of fun activities on offer, including paintballing, which is one of the newer activities. I would urge eligible parents to make sure they are registered.”
HAF activities will start on Monday 19 December and run until 30th December.
All those eligible for the programme will receive a letter via their school.
Any eligible children who have not received a letter by 25th November should contact their school in the first instance, while all others should go to www.staffordshire.gov.uk/holidayactivities for more information. Registration opens at 4pm on Thursday 1 December.
Families worried about cost of living pressures can also get advice and support www.staffordshire.gov.uk/heretohelp
Members of the Violence Reduction Alliance have hosted a Community Safety event at the New Vic Theatre with pupils from local schools from across Stoke-on-Trent.
This event on Wednesday 16 November, which included workshops and planned activities for and featured two sessions in the morning and afternoon for pupils.
A virtual reality session was also organised by Round Midnight, showcasing the dangers of knife crime.
Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire & Rescue, and Crime, Ben Adams said: “Reducing violence – and the fear of violence – is a key priority for me as Commissioner. It forms an important part of our broader partnership approach to reducing violence through the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Violence Reduction Alliance.
“New research from the Youth Endowment Fund shows that nationally, young people are being seriously impacted by violence and the fear of violence, with almost two thirds changing their behaviour in some way as a result.
“Understanding how young people across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent feel about violence is vital. Community safety and violence form part of Personal, Social, Health & Economic education, which is why we’ve funded PSHE coordinators to support schools in talking to young people about topics such as knife crime and staying safe.”
Stoke-on-Trent City Council leads a Community Safety Partnership and are a key partner in the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Violence Reduction Alliance, where organisations and services join up and work together to protect local communities from crime and help people feel safe.