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In Manchester, we recognise that school holidays for some families can be a challenging time. The pressure of reduced incomes and increased costs such as food and childcare can feel hard during these times, and for some children and young people this creates gaps in accessing organised holiday activity.
This can result in ‘unhealthy holidays’ - increased holiday hunger, limited access to nutritious and healthy meals alongside limited access to physical and fun activities. All of which can contribute to the likelihood of experiencing social isolation. Sadly, these issues have also been further exasperated by the Covid-19 pandemic. 
In response to this, the Department of Education (DfE) has provided local authorities with Holiday Activity Funding (HAF) to develop a free activity and food programme during the holidays. This means we are able to work with clubs and organisations across the city to develop a food and activity programme to respond to the above, which we know will make a positive impact on the children and young people of Manchester.

From Summer 2021 - Summer 2022, MCRactive and Manchester City Council offered thousands of FREE places to children eligible for benefit related free school meals and those with no recourse to public funds; to access a variety of activities over the school holiday periods. Activities range from Sport and Physical Activities, Arts and Crafts and sometimes can include a variety of Day Trips. 

Our work with holiday activity has gone from strength to strength over the past year, with a focus on providing support for children and families eligible for free school meals, with funding secured from the Department for Education; allowing us to deliver enriching and inclusive activities alongside a healthy meal.

This year, Manchester commissioned 115 unique providers to receive Holiday Activity Funding (HAF) to deliver a meal and activities over school holidays. Aimed at local 5-16 years old in receipt of free school meals, we delivered;

- 3,466 Sessions
- 81,847 engagements
- 14,572 children

MCRactive, the City Council are immensely proud of the work we have achieved over the past year, but we couldn't have done it without the hard work or local providers, volunteers and communities working tirelessly to provide free, engaging and vital activity and hot meals to disadvantaged children in our city. And we have no plans to stop anytime soon, with plans to expand the Holiday Activity Fund program even further in 2023 to ensure we reach all children in need accross Manchester.


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