Published: Monday, 19th Dec 2022

Bolton families of children receiving free school meals will benefit from fun activities and nutritious meals as part of the Holiday Activities and Food programme.

Child participating in haf activites 1Children and families on benefits-related free school meals are urged to visit the council website to find out more about the government’s Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) scheme.

Bolton Council has worked closely with the local charity and volunteer sector to establish a network of free holiday sessions across all parts of the borough this winter.

Sessions are available for four hours a day, four days a week from December 22 to January 6.

Activities include sports clubs, trampoline parks, outdoor adventure centres, forest schools and football matches ensuring there will be something exciting on offer for everyone.

In addition this festive period, HAF will offer Christmas themed experiences including The Albert Hall’s pantomime followed by a three-course meal and Bolton Christmas Festival tickets.

All activities are optional, and eligible families can still receive food packages from of Urban Outreach’s pick-up points whether or not they choose to take part.

There are also 1,500 Christmas hampers available to eligible families.

The programme is funded as part of the £1,436,710 from the government’s HAF budget with this Christmas break using the last of the funds for 2022.

The scheme has helped over 10,0000 young people already through its Easter and Summer HAF programme.

Whilst the HAF programme focuses on children and young people on free school meals there are open sessions and events across Bolton that all young people can attend. 

Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Cllr Anne Galloway, said:

“Christmas can bring additional financial challenges for families who are already struggling with the rising cost of living.

“The HAF programme aims to relieve some of this burden to help those who need it the most in our community. 

“It provides food and fun activities for families as well as creating extra special Christmas time memories for children.

“I urge residents to pass on the message about this free service and I really encourage families to visit the website to see the wide range of activities on offer.

“A big ‘thank you’ to our wonderful partners who make the programme a success, along with our own Play and Youth Team, including Bolton Lad’s and Girls Club, Urban Outreach, CVS and Bolton Together.”

For more information on HAF activities and food options available please visit