the outside of Manchester Central Library

Council ensures that there is ‘loads to do’ for vulnerable children this October half-term

Manchester City Council is providing free meals and activities for children across the city this week as schools across the city close for half-term. 

Additional funding has been provided for a scheme targeted at helping families suffering the effects of the cost-of-living crisis in Manchester. 

The programme named Loads to Do is part of the council’s effort to quash out the problems caused “holiday hunger” by providing free meals and a “host of fun activities” to children aged 5-15. The scheme gives children eligible for free school meals the “opportunity to take part in fun, enriching activities and receive a healthy meal”. 


This comes as an extension of the council’s commitment to assisting children affected by holiday hunger. 

Councillor Garry Bridges said: “Providing an additional net of support for young people in Manchester during the autumn is an incredibly important piece of work we do”.

This month, 31 libraries or “warm banks” have been opened to people in need of warm shelter. These warm banks provide a vital role in keeping people warm with over 25,000 hot drinks given out over a four-month period last year.


In the summer of 2023, the council successfully rolled out the Holiday and Food (HAF) programme where over 15,000 children attended sessions. This year marked a 20% increase in individual visits of last year’s programme displaying the increasing importance of these schemes.

This programme is open to a significant number of pupils in the City of Manchester with 36.9% being eligible for free school meals according to Greater Manchester Poverty Action (GMPA) as well as 250,000 children living in poverty in Greater Manchester.