Budding young footballers to follow in the footsteps of Albion stars

Christmas has arrived a little early for 25 children who have landed free places on a popular Brighton Soccer School.

The special free places are funded by a city-wide programme to support children from low-income families with activities and food during school holidays. 

The children, aged 5 and 13 years, will take part in Brighton & Hove Albion’s Soccer School, over the Christmas holidays. It's just one of the exciting activities on offer in the city's Winter Holidays and Activities Food (HAF) programme.

Learn new skills, have fun and eat well 

The HAF programme, delivered by Brighton & Hove City Council and funded by the Department of Education, provides children and young people who receive benefits-related free school meals with inspiring activities and healthy meals during school holidays.

This winter the council has partnered with more than 20 local leisure providers, clubs and community organisations to deliver a fantastic choice of activities and events at 30 locations across Brighton and Hove.

A child on a previous Brighton & Hove Soccer School. Children on HAF places are to join for the first time this Xmas

Now, thanks to the collaboration with Brighton & Hove Albion’s official charity, Albion in the Community, children on the HAF programme will get to learn to play the Albion way on the four-day Brighton Soccer School, based at Dorothy Stringer School. They will join 65 others to learn new skills, have fun and make new friends in a safe, structured environment.

Rob Josephs, from Albion in the Community says “We are thrilled to be able to offer these opportunities to local children in Brighton & Hove.

"We believe that football should be enjoyed by everyone and are committed to ensuring there are no barriers for people to participate.

Places still available on exciting activities!

The soccer school places have been snapped up but there is still availability on other exciting events and activities for both children and teenagers, including:

And much more!

Events start 20 December, with Brighton Table Tennis Club and Footsteps Day Nursery running through until 31 December.
To choose activities and book, visit the Winter HAF programme calendar

Children and young people, aged 4 to 16, in full-time education and in receipt of benefits-related free school meals are eligible.

Support at a challenging time

The chair of the city council's Children, Young People and Skills Committee, Councillor Hannah Clare, said:

“It’s fantastic that Albion in the Community is partnering with the city’s HAF programme to offer these great opportunities to help children to develop valuable life skills and nurture their passions, as well as keeping active and eating well during the holidays.”

“School holidays can be a difficult time for some families due to increased food and childcare costs and given the impact of the pandemic and rising food prices, this Christmas will be particularly challenging for some.

“By offering stimulating activities and healthy meals, the HAF programme creates a safe, supportive and fun environment for children during the winter holidays.

“We’d like to thank Albion In the Community and the other 20 providers who have collaborated to offer this winter’s fantastic programme.

“I am pleased to say that HAF will be back in spring 2022."

Make a Change Holiday Club

The collaboration between Brighton & Hove City Council’s HAF Programme and AITC builds on a successful pilot delivered at St Mark’s CE Primary School in Whitehawk in April 2021, funded by HAF. St Marks has one of the highest numbers of children of free school meals in the city.

Twenty-five children took part in a football-themed Make a Change Holiday Club, enjoying fun health-focused exercise – not just football! - and educational activities.

“Using the unique role football plays in the lives of many young people, our activities and approach encourage physical activity and healthy eating in a fun way," says Rob Josephs.
"The activities help nurture and develop confidence, resilience, communication and other important life skills for their future.

The Make a Change Club will be returning to St Marks this Christmas holidays. The club is just for pupils of St Marks Primary but there are plans to extend the model to other schools in the city. 
Schools interested in hosting a Make A Change Club should contact haf@brighton-hove.gov.uk 

Covid policies

  • All our HAF providers undertake their own COVID risk assessments and are responsible for following national guidance. Please inquire directly with the providers via the booking calendar.

  • As part of Albion in the Community’s response to the current Covid-19 pandemic, all their Soccer Schools follow latest government and FA guidelines on grassroots football. These include risk assessments for each session, a high coach-to-player ratio and extra protocols in place to ensure appropriate distancing at drop off and collection. 

Find out more 

Find more about the Winter HAF programme 

Find out more about Brighton & Hove Albion’s Soccer Schools:




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