Brighter Futures for Children & Reading Borough Council press release

Holiday camps across Reading will once again be providing a wide variety of exciting activities this Easter, alongside free lunches, for children who are normally entitled to pupil premium free school meals.

Football, fencing and dance are among the free activities on offer to Reading children through Reading’s Holiday Activity & Food (HAF) scheme during the two-week school break.

Hundreds of young people who are eligible for the HAF scheme, run by Brighter Futures for Children (BFfC), can take part in holiday camps provided by organisations ranging from Reading FC to Little Musketeers, and from Sport in Mind to Make Sense Theatre.

Families need to register to access HAF activities every new holiday season, even if they have done so previously. The registration form and details of all the Easter holiday camps can be found at:

 Lara Patel, Reading’s Director of Children’s Services, said:

“There are so many different activities on offer to children over the Easter school holidays, I think there is something to interest everyone. Parents will also be assured that their children will receive a tasty, nutritious lunch at the camps, as well as keeping active and making new friends.

“I would encourage eligible families to register now and get their child booked on to one of these exciting activities.”

BFfC co-ordinates HAF on behalf of Reading Borough Council and the scheme is funded by the Department for Education.

Separately, it was recently confirmed that Reading Borough Council will receive £2,261,298 from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) as part of phase 4 of the Household Support Fund (HSF) scheme, which covers the next financial year.

The national Household Support Fund initiative has evolved since it was first introduced in December 2020 as the Covid Winter Grant. At this point the fund was predominantly focused on provision of food support for families during school holidays. Since then, what central Government require councils to focus spending the money on has greatly changed. As the national cost of living crisis has worsened, the emphasis has changed to providing support for residents who have been worst impacted by the increase in energy costs and, specifically, to include households with older people in need of support.

As a result of these national changes, last year the Council combined the energy and food voucher schemes into one Cost of Living voucher. This approach provided added flexibility to residents who could redeem their voucher for cash and choose how to use the funds according to their individual needs.

Council officers are now in the process of developing a new scheme to ensure the most recently allocated funding gets to residents who need the most support during the on-going cost of living crisis.  Details of the scheme must be sent to Central Government (DWP) by May 17 and will be widely publicised to residents as soon as possible in May.