Hampshire children on free school meals to be given places at summer camps

MORE than £300,000 will be spent on looking after children eligible for free school meals over the summer holidays.

Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 9:46 am
Updated Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 12:41 pm

Hampshire County Council will give out £335,990 to holiday camps for children who receive free school meals.

The money has come from the Department for Education, as part of a national contingency budget.

Read More

Read More
Portsmouth neighbours 'gobsmacked' by People's Postcode Lottery win that sees si...

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The summer camps will keep children fit and healthy, says the council. Picture: PA

On Monday Councillor Roz Chadd, executive lead member for children's services, approved an initial allocation of £37,465 to five groups, with the remaining funds to be allocated in the coming days.

Assistant director for children's services, Suzanne Smith, said: 'On July 9, the Department for Education made additional funding available.

'This is due to the increase in the number of free school meal eligible children that there has been nationally as a result of the pandemic. At the last census, that was more than 31,000 children for Hampshire.

'The new funding means we can provide more spaces in the summer holiday schemes - we've worked with our providers and can use this additional funding across the summer.'

With the summer holidays in full swing, some funding has been given out to schemes that have already started.

But the majority of the cash has been kept back for use throughout the summer holidays.

All of this comes under the Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) programme, set up by the government last year.

It is hoped that this funding will not only keep children active over the summer, but eating healthily and staying engaged with local services.

Cllr Chadd said: 'I think this is a wonderful scheme.'

In total, the government has given £3.6m to Hampshire County Council to support children receiving free school meals.

Of the £37,000 already allocated, £10,500 is going to Sportskool in Fareham, creating 250 extra places for children.

Director Anna Marfleet said: 'It's great news - we've so lucky to be involved.

'This funding makes our summer programme much more accessible to families, which is really important. We work very hard to support as many families as we can, to give children a positive experience.

'It's been a really tough year for the children so it's nice to do something positive for them.'

Any money that isn't spent by the county council this summer will be rolled over to Christmas.

For the same provision, Portsmouth City Council was granted £95,840 for the 2020/21 financial year and £857,220 for the 2021/22 financial year by the Department for Education.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

You can subscribe here for unlimited access to our online coverage, including Pompey, for 27p a day.