Children and young people are gearing up for a happy and healthy Christmas, courtesy of a range of free activities, holiday clubs, and fun days offered through the Holiday Activities and Food Programme (HAF).
The HAF programme allows anyone that is already in receipt of benefit related free school meals to sign up for a HAF passcode. This passcode grants free access to the enriching activities and events across the county, all accompanied by a nutritious hot meal.
Fee paying bookings are also available at the majority of activities.
Additionally, local holiday clubs and activity providers have increased their support for children with special educational needs and disabilities, with a number of location now being able to offer 1 to 1 support where required.
Young people can choose to keep warm with lots of indoor sessions, and for those who like to be outside and active there is plenty of outdoor sports and games included too.
Some highlights of this years programme include:
- Exclusive Event at Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park (Purbeck): Children, including those with disabilities, can meet the farm’s animals, enjoy a tractor and trailer ride, and receive gifts from Santa. A delicious hot meal will be served in the cosy farm café. Book here
- Treehouse Theatre in Purbeck and Gillingham: Bringing the classic story of Cinderella to life in an immersive show with live music, audience banter, sing-alongs, and opportunities for audience volunteers. Afterward, children will enjoy a meal and a disco party. Find out more
- Samurai Kickboxing Camps in Dorchester: Children can try something new, learning martial arts skills that promote fitness, strength, coordination, and mental well-being. Find out more
- Multi-Sports Camps at Sherborne Sports Centre: Teenagers (12–16 years) can participate in team gym activities and climbing. Find out more
- Weymouth Outdoor Education Centre (WOEC): A rock hop activity at Tout Quarry in Portland, followed by climbing and indoor caving tunnels. Participants will receive a hearty Christmas dinner, courtesy of Loose Moose, with crackers and gifts included. All equipment and a free return bus transfer to Portland will be provided. Find out more
- 360 Degree Sports Coaching in Verwood: Expanding their program to include multi-sports sessions at a new venue. Find out more
- Saints Southwest Soccer Camp (Blandford United Football Club): Children up to the age of 11 can make new friends, have fun, and work on their soccer technique in a safe learning environment. Find out more
Dorset Council’s Holiday Activity and Food Programme is now in its third year, offering a vibrant and diverse collection of activities for children and teenagers of all ages and abilities.
Cllr Byron Quayle, Dorset Council Portfolio Holder for Children, Education, Skills, and Early Help, said: “Many families across Dorset are struggling with the cost of living, and it is even more challenging at this time of year. HAF ensures that all children have the opportunity to enjoy festive fun and activities during the Christmas holiday.”
HAF is funded by the Department for Education’s (DfE) holiday activities and food programme