Preston North End Community and Education Trust was one of nine providers of the Winter Holiday Activities and Food [HAF] programme in Preston last month, supporting 108 children daily over four days leading up to Christmas.
HAF is a government programme which provides free meals for children outside of term time who ordinarily access free school meals while they are at school, with the winter programme most recently being delivered during the first week of the December half-term, ahead of Christmas.
PNECET delivered the HAF programme for the first time last summer, reaching 217 children daily across six different sites in Preston, but the more recent winter efforts took a different shape as children experienced three exciting day trips to different venues while still receiving free lunches each day.
As well as providing free meals, the programme offers engaging diversionary activities that both keep children safe and prevent them from becoming socially isolated – which was achieved with participants watching a Cinderella pantomime, visiting the Flip Out Trampolining Centre and enjoying a Christmas party at PlayFootball Preston.
Those activities were delivered on three different days and children were also provided with additional lunches to cater them for a fourth day thereafter.
The Trust also delivered a specialist HAF programme to children from Sir Tom Finney High School, in which children enjoyed similar activities watching a pantomime and taking part in trampolining, as well as having a festive lunch served at Morrisons Riversway and then receiving a further lunch for the following day.
Head of Community Engagement Rebecca Robertson said: “It was fantastic to support so many young people with our Winter HAF programme in December.
“As a change from the summer programme, it was really enjoyable for the children involved to experience some exciting activities and day trips as part of the programme, which they might not otherwise have been able to attend.
“There were plenty of smiling faces on our visits and we hope that our programme will have given those involved some happy and memorable experiences at Christmas time.”