Support for families over the summer holidays

Free school meal vouchers and activities

With summer holidays starting – many Knowle West parents will be wondering how to make ends meet with children at home for six weeks.

But Bristol families eligible for free school meals (FSM) are being given extra help over the whole school summer holiday period.

Bristol City Council is working with partners across the city – offering a support package for families including access to free holiday activities and FSM vouchers.

Families who currently receive benefit-related FSM are being given £15 vouchers a week for each eligible child (£90 in total) to cover the whole six-week summer holiday period. These can be spent at supermarkets including Aldi, Tesco and Sainsburys.

Vouchers are being distributed through childminders, early years settings and schools as well as academies and further education establishments – but are not available from Bristol City Council.

Vouchers are being distributed through education providers including schools, academies and early years providers.

Families who receive FSM are also eligible for the Your Holiday Hub (YHH) summer activity programme. Over 80 organisations and providers in Bristol have already received funding to deliver over 1,500 sessions across the city.

Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Reed, said: “We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on Bristol’s children and young people…

“Our programme of support, which includes covering the six week summer break with FSM vouchers and the Your Holiday Hub programme, is an opportunity to help families rebuild our children and young people’s confidence and social skills through play, sport, adventure, and friendship.”

Cabinet Lead for Families, Education and Women, Councillor Helen Godwin, said he summer holiday period could be “a challenging time for all families” and the council had also put together a resource for all activities taking place across the city for Bristol families to use.

Your Holiday Hub activities

YHH activities – including sport, drama, and cookery – will be taking place in schools, community centres and open spaces across this city this summer. The programme is free for those children taking part and includes a nutritious meal.

Circomedia will be providing circus skills as part of the Your Holiday Hub programme. Seen here at the 2019 Knowle West Fest. Picture Marcus Way, courtesy of Filwood Community Centre.

Dan White is CEO of the Bristol City Robins Foundation, one of the largest YHH providers, which are also laying on activities in the Filwood ward.

He said: “We are delighted to partner with the Bristol City Council on the YHH programme. We know first-hand the impact COVID-19 has had on young people…

“Being able to provide free food and activities for them over the summer holiday period will channel their energy into positive activity and support their families with meals that they would normal rely on the schools for.”

Other local providers include Grassroot Communities, Oasis Hub South Bristol and Streetspace Knowle West as well as South Bristol Children’s Centres and Youth Moves.

Young people taking part in a Youth Moves day out this year – the organisation is part of the YHH programme this summer. Picture courtesy of Youth Moves.

The YHH programme is funded by the Department for Education (DfE) through the Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) grant. Local Authorities in England have been allocated funding based on the number of free school meals students in their local area.

Bristol City Council is working closely with the Bristol Association of Neighbourhood Day-care, Playful Bristol, Feeding Bristol and Fareshare to coordinate the YHH summer 2021 programme of “fun and engaging” activities for children and young people.

For more information visit: Find a holiday activity in your area – bristol.gov.uk

Summer holiday activities for all families can be found here: Synergy – Enquiry (servelec-synergy.com)