Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Festus Akinbusoye is working in partnership with local authorities in Bedfordshire to support their Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programmes this summer.
The HAF programme, funded by the Department for Education (DfE), is a holiday provision for school children from reception to year 11 who receive benefits-related free school meals (FSM).
Young people can book on to take part in activities such as outdoor and sports focussed sessions, swimming, creative activities and attend youth clubs.
To show his support, the Commissioner has funded FREE water bottles for every single young person attending one of the activities at each of the three local authorities in Bedford, Luton and Central Bedfordshire.
The bottles have a QR code and information card from the Bedfordshire Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC), which links to the PCC’s website where more information can be found about commissioned support services These include Domestic Abuse support, Youth Offender management, early intervention services and support for victims and witnesses in all other crime types.
The PCC, Festus Akinbusoye said: “I am delighted to be able to support and work in partnership with the three local authorities with their summer HAF programmes this summer. After putting on a successful programme last year for young people I knew it was something I wanted to support again.
“We know the benefits these type of activities can bring to the physical and mental health of young people. Giving them opportunities to attend these sessions encourages healthy choices and improves self-esteem.
“This directly links with my priorities of investing in early intervention programmes to safeguard our young people and partnership working in the community.
“I am really looking forward to attending some of the sessions in each of the three local areas”.
Sessions are inclusive so are suitable for children with special education needs and disabilities (SEND).
To find out more about each of the HAF programmes you can contact each local authority directly:
- Central Beds: https://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/info/11/children_and_young_people/1134/holiday_activities_and_food_programme_haf
- Luton: https://www.activeluton.co.uk/energise-luton-holiday-camps
- Bedford: https://localoffer.bedford.gov.uk/kb5/bedford/directory/site.page?id=dKNrBBMrQTw
To find out more about the HAF programme 2022 visit the Government website here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/holiday-activities-and-food-programme/holiday-activities-and-food-programme-2021
In addition to the HAF programme, sports providers have joined the likes of the Bedfordshire Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU) in supporting the Safe to Play campaign.
Bedfordshire sports stars and clubs have teamed up with local agencies responsible for children’s safety to ensure parents and carers are asking the right questions about safeguarding during the summer holidays.
Clubs and leisure centres supporting the campaign include Luton Town Football Club, Ampthill and District Community Rugby Club, Boxing Saves Lives and the Bedfordshire Football Association, as well as sports centres managed by Active Luton, Fusion Lifestyle and SLL.
The VERU has also compiled a list of different sports and other activities for young people throughout the summer.