A HOLIDAY food and activity programme to support children during the school holidays will be launched in East Sussex next month.

Activities will include outdoor pursuits, arts and crafts, and sports with an emphasis on healthy food and the preparation of meals.

Coordinated by East Sussex County Council’s Children’s Services department, the holiday clubs will offer activities and food which will be free for children who receive benefits related free school- meals. The programme also offers an opportunity for new providers to develop connections with local schools.

Initially, places will be offered to some of the most disadvantaged children across the county through schools and the council’s Children’s Services teams. If possible, the holiday clubs will be made available to children who are not eligible for free school meals and who can pay to attend.

The Holiday Food and Fun programme, which is still being developed, will run for a total of six weeks over the 2021 Easter, summer and Christmas school holidays, for four hours a day over four days a week.

Cllr Sylvia Tidy, the county council’s lead member for children and families, said: “School holidays can be a particular pressure point for some families because of increased costs, such as food and childcare, and reduced incomes.

“The planned Holiday Food and Fun programme will support some of our most disadvantaged children during the holidays ensuring they receive a nutritious meal and enjoy their break from school while taking part in fun, healthy activities.

“The programme also provides an opportunity for a wide range of providers to work together with East Sussex schools and our Children’s Services teams to develop fun offers for disadvantaged children.”

The holiday activities and food programme was piloted by the Government between 2018 and 2020. It is now being expanded across the country with £220m of funding being provided to local authorities by the Department for Education.