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HAF Programme Aiding Positive Behavioural Changes In Children

3 October 2021

PNECET’s delivery of the Holiday Activities and Food [HAF] programme throughout August allowed one child to improve both their behaviour and their relationships with the rest of their family, while also becoming more active and eating more healthily.

The HAF programme supported 217 young people daily throughout August with the provision of free school meals, educational workshops and physical activity sessions, primarily reaching children who would ordinarily access free school meals in term-time.

The programme provided support for children of all ages and in all areas of Preston, with HAF being delivered at five sites across the city, and clubs running both for five to 11-year-olds and for 12 to 16-year-olds.

Children were able to learn with empowering educational workshops normally delivered on the Primary Stars programme, focusing on areas such as racism and mental health, while remaining active and engaged by playing a range of sports and games.

As well as that, though, one child accessing the Trust’s HAF programme at Ribbleton Infants and Junior School has become noticeably better behaved – both by PNECET staff and the boy’s parents – and as a result has seen an improvement with his family at home.

“He wasn’t listening at home and a friend told me about the HAF programme,” said the boy’s mother.

“A staff member rang me to say he had a place, and I got off the phone and cried because he’s that bad at home, so much hard work at home, that I was ready for losing it. It was a massive weight lifted for him to come and for him to have a break from me as well.

“We don’t do many ball activities at home. We’ve not got a big garden, there’s not much for them to do at home. If he was at home, he’d be playing on his computer constantly. I’d rather him be here and be out than sat cooped up in his bedroom. He’s getting to know more adults as well.

“Although he still pushes his boundaries, I’ve noticed a change in him since he’s been coming. He’s not been as hard work and he’s listening more.”

By attending the HAF provision, which ran for four days a week during August, the child’s family also had some pressure relieved at home, as it allowed for his parents to care for his brother’s needs. 

His mother added: “It gives his brother a break from him here as well. It gives us all a break from each other.

“It lets me do more with his brother, who is very limited with what he can do. It gives me the chance to tidy up and do more things for his brother like arranging and taking him to appointments.

“It’s hard work taking them together to appointments because he messes around. Whilst he’s here, if his brother has an appointment, we can go without him messing.”

The child, who is being assessed for ADHD and autism, said: “I definitely like coming here. I’ve liked coming and drawing, I enjoy everything. I do things here that I don’t do at home.”

The provision aims to help children eat more healthily with the provision of fruit as part of their daily lunches.

The child’s mother added: “He’s a very fussy eater and wouldn’t normally eat tuna at home but he loves it here. He eats more healthily here because he doesn’t eat fruit at home.

“He comes home with grapes, apples – even his brother gets something on the way out and he doesn’t eat fruit either, but it’s helping him as well.

She agreed that overall the programme has been a positive experience for her son.

“I’m so grateful for him coming here,” she added. “If he was at home and not doing anything, his behaviour would be really bad. I think we feel like the more he does things, the better it is for him.

“The minute he gets up in the morning, he is on the go. Whilst he’s here, it’s burning some energy, so when he comes home he’s not as full on. He’s a bit more chilled when he comes home.”

For more information about the HAF programme and other PNECET initiatives, please email

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