Help for families this Easter as free programme is extended to all families who are in financial hardship

A free programme of holiday activities funded by the Government and coordinated by West Suffolk Council, is being extended again this Easter to other families in need.

Park cooking, film making, football, craft making, roller skating, gardening, singing, dancing, Nerf wars, tennis, gymnastics, archery and more, all feature as part of the Holiday Activities and Food Programme in West Suffolk.

It is primarily targeted at families who have children or young people who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals.


But West Suffolk Council recognises that there will be other families in financial hardship who are ineligible. As it did at Christmas, the council is allowed to use up to 15 per cent of its share of the Government funding to offer free places to families who are in financial hardship but who wouldn’t otherwise qualify. Spaces for this are limited and will be on a first come first served basis. Further details on how to apply can be found at

Working with over a dozen community partners, the Council has drawn up a programme of activities offering 2145 places run over 668 sessions provided across towns and villages. More details of what is on where and when, plus how to book a place, can be found at

Cllr Robert Everitt, Cabinet Member for Families and Communities, said: “Many households in West Suffolk have been impacted by the cost of living. We have been working to support organisations and groups in the community that are helping those in need, with funding through our Community Chest grants, councillor locality budgets, and other funding that we have accessed. We have also extended our council tax support to help those households on the lowest incomes who are in the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

“We recognise that there will be more families experiencing financial hardship this Easter who may not have qualified for the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme and so we will be extending the scheme to include them on a first come first served basis.

“The West Suffolk programme offers the chance for children and young people to enjoy a host of creative and sporting activities that will help them to develop new skills and build their confidence. There’s also opportunity to learn about food and cooking and to take home the ingredients for a delicious dinner that they and their family can enjoy together.” 

HAF is part of a £220m national programme funded by the Department for Education. It is being coordinated by West Suffolk Council on behalf of Suffolk County Council.

For more on cost-of-living advice and support in West Suffolk visit