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FUEL: Information for providers

Expression of interest to deliver the FUEL Programme for 2024

In 2024, Achieving for Children will once again partner with providers to help deliver the FUEL programme. The government website has more information about the national programme.

If you would like to deliver the FUEL programme in 2024, you will need to read the accompanying guidance which we have created.

Deadlines for applications:

  • Easter: 9 February 2024
  • Summer: 17 May 2024
  • Christmas: 25 October 2024
Apply to be a 2024 FUEL provider here.

School holidays can be pressure points for some families and for some children, this can lead to a holiday experience gap, with children from low-income households being:

  • less likely to access organised out-of-school activities
  • more likely to experience ‘unhealthy holidays’ in terms of nutrition and physical health
  • more likely to experience social isolation

The FUEL programme is a response to this issue, with evidence showing that free holiday clubs can have a positive impact on children and young people and that they work best when they:

  • provide consistent and easily accessible enrichment activities
  • cover more than just breakfast or lunch
  • involve children (and parents) in food preparation
  • use local partnerships and connections, particularly with the voluntary and community organisation sector

In The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM), the programme has been renamed as FUEL (Feed Ur Everyday Lives) and is coordinated by Achieving for Children (AfC).

The programme is not designed as a child care provision although that is an added benefit for some families.

The programme is predominantly for school-aged children from Reception to Year 11 inclusive who receive benefits-related Free School Meals. Achieving for Children can also offer the programme to vulnerable families not in receipts of free school meals (see 11. Extended eligibility criteria for more information).

Providers sessions must:

  • Operate for a minimum of four hours per day* (ideally longer, for example six hours). They can be anytime of the day inc evening.
  • Include enriching and physical activities
  • Include a nutritious hot meal (cooked on-site or delivered via a caterer)
  • Inclusive and accessible provision to all FSM children including those with SEND
  • Operate in line with the government HAF guidance

*We will consider applications for sessions aimed at SEND and secondary aged students for a minimum of 2 hours, to encourage take up. Primary aged funding will predominantly be awarded for four-hour sessions or more, unless in exceptional circumstances This is due to the high number of organisations we fund.

The 2024 programme will cover the Easter, Summer, and Christmas holidays on the following dates:

Easter:

  • Monday 8 April - Thursday 11 April

Summer: 

  • Week 1: Monday 29 July - Thursday 1 August
  • Week 2: Monday 5 August - Thursday 8 August
  • Week 3: Monday 12 August - Thursday 15 August
  • Week 4: Monday 19 August - Thursday 22 August

Christmas: 

  • TBC

Parent feedback has highlighted that the manual booking system that's been in place since the start of the FUEL programme is a major barrier for families. In 2024 we are introducing a central booking system with details of all the FUEL provision being offered during each holiday period, including provider information, venues, session dates and times, age groups being catered for and how to book a place. Further information will be provided, however you can visit the booking system provider for more details.

Key information:

  • Parents can see all available holiday clubs in one place
  • Parents can book spaces for multiple children of differing ages
  • Parents can see live availability for all providers on one site
  • Providers can make the final decision on whether they can accept a child
  • Children can not be booked on multiple sessions on the same day 
  • Listings can be created by a provider in as little as 20 minutes by following our prompts and examples. 
  • Each page has a unique URL that can be shared. 
  • Providers can customise their listings and add highlighted sections for key information such as SEND.
  • All data reporting can be run from the system so providers will not need to send data forms into the FUEL coordinator.

All providers will need to use the new system and will be supported with setting up their pages.

Following feedback from parents and having looked at good practice across the country we have developed 4 levels of SEND provision. This will allow the programme to be more accessible to SEND children and will allow parents a better understanding of how a provider can meet the needs of their child. Providers with clubs at Levels 2-4 will need to highlight on their application form how they meet the relevant level.

  • Level 1: This club is only suitable for children with no or mild needs, who are able to go to the toilet and eat their lunch with correct supervision but do not need direct support in doing so. This level is suitable for children who do not present risky behaviours such as being of harm to themselves or to others.
  • Level 2: This club will be suitable for children who have mild to moderate needs, and those who will need direct support with personal care and will need one to one support with eating their lunch. This level is suitable for children who do not present risky behaviours such as being of harm to themselves or to others.
  • Level 3: This club will be suitable for children who have moderate to severe needs, and those who will need direct support with personal care and will need one to one support with eating their lunch. Or this club is suitable for children who are known to demonstrate risky behaviours such as being of harm to themselves or to others.
  • Level 4: This club will be suitable for children who have moderate to severe needs, and those who will need direct support with personal care and will need one to one support with eating their lunch. These children may also be known to demonstrate risky behaviours such as being of harm to themselves or to others.

Organisations should set out in their application how they plan to utilise the funding in line with the government’s framework of standards for providers as set out in the HAF guidance.

As coordinators of the programme, AfC have a responsibility to ensure there is value for money as this is a public fund and we will not pay more for spaces then fee paying families.

Due to the increased demand for spaces on the programme against a similar funding envelope from the Government to previous years, there is now a maximum funding rate that we will look to pay. 

Maximum funding per day rates:

  • 4 hours of activity = £25 
  • 4-6 hours of activity = £30
  • 6 hours + of activity = £35

We would especially welcome applications that provide ‘unique’ experiences for children which may mean higher overall programme costs then highlighted above. We will consider every application to assess the proposed programme/activities and the benefits for attendees, taking overall costs into account. We want FUEL provision to be inclusive and accessible to all benefits-related free school meals eligible children in RBWM. Therefore, a higher rate of funding is available to support the inclusion of children who may need extra support to engage with the programme, most typically, children with Special Education Needs and/or Disabilities and 12 - 16 year olds who require extra adult help, specialist equipment or exciting/engaging activities.

Organisations can factor relevant costs into their grant application; such as transport to allow eligible children to access provision, cost of hot meals which could be via an outsourced caterer, any additional staffing required, venue hire, venue entrance fees if running a day trip.

We will fund places offered on programmes and not places ultimately taken up by children. We will therefore expect organisations to develop a communications and promotion strategy to help ensure the provision will be promoted effectively with the aim of ensuring that all available places are booked. Attendance rates for previous programmes are used when deciding the number of spaces purchased with providers.

To receive FUEL funding programmes must:

  • Operate in line with the government HAF guidance
  • Operate within RBWM or start and end in RBWM if the activity is a day trip.
  • Benefit people who live in RBWM or who go to school in RBWM.
  • Be inclusive and accessible to every FSM family and have regard to protected characteristics.
  • Provide face-to-face activities providing a range of activities; for at least four hours per day (but ideally longer than four hours if open to non FUEL funded children for longer).
  • Provide HOT food ONLY (with all food and snacks meeting school food standards). The hot food offer could be provided through partnering with a local food provider (for example, meals could be delivered via a contract caterer). 
  • Have a mechanism in place to contact families who do not attend sessions and inform the FUEL Co-ordinator/team of non attendees on a weekly basis. This enables these families to be contacted and a discussion had around future attendance.
  • Develop a communications and promotion plan to help ensure the provision is effectively promoted within the local area. FUEL branding must be used on all promotional materials and content and the Family Hub Service to be included in any messages on twitter. We reserve the right to require sight of proposed promotional materials before use to ensure appropriate use of FUEL branding.
  • Send out a FUEL online feedback form to all participants - The link will be provided to you and feedback will come direct to the FUEL Coordination Team

If your provision is open to non Fuel funded children as well as funded children please note that:

  • A child that does not meet the criteria cannot take a FUEL funded place.
  • Grant monies can only fund the proportion of your programme costs that will be used to deliver activities for the eligible cohort group for the HAF programme. For example, if 40% of your capacity will be for FSM children, 40% of the total provision costs will be eligible for HAF grant funding.

FUEL funding is available to a wide network of organisations including community and voluntary organisations, registered charities, social enterprises, schools, private companies and leisure/coaching/creative providers operating in RBWM.

As part of the application process, and to confirm your eligibility to receive public money, you may be required to submit copies of policies and documents including:

  • Constitution or governing document in the case of non-for-profit organisations
  • Equalities and Diversity policy and procedures
  • Safeguarding policy and procedures
  • Public Liability and Employers’ Liability Insurance
  • Accounting or financial information to prove solvency

Organisations must evidence Public Liability and Employers’ Liability insurance cover of a minimum of £5 million in order to gain a FUEL fund grant. However, we recommend that organisations carry out checks with venues they intend to hire for FUEL purposes regarding venues’ insurance requirements for hiring purposes.

We will support providers in the planning of FUEL activity programmes, through regular email updates, webinars and information sessions and one to one guidance and advice.

Deadlines for applications:

  • Easter: 9 February 2024
  • Summer: 17 May 2024
  • Christmas: 25 October 2024

Organisations can apply for the 2024 Easter, Summer and Christmas programmes via the online form. Officers will undertake an initial sense check and organisational due diligence of the application, and may contact you if further information is required for the review process.

If you apply for more than one holiday programme at once and are successful in gaining funding for future programmes, we will ask for a brief update on your programme prior to each school holiday.

Please complete each element of the application accurately and truthfully. The success of your application is dependent on your organisation fulfilling the brief as submitted, and failure to achieve the standards agreed may result in your contract being terminated and payment being withheld. 

  • Value for money
  • Does the organisation's programme meet the framework of standards as set out in the government’s HAF guidance document? These are:
    • Healthy hot food offer (meeting school food standards).
    • Enriching activities that enable participants to develop new skills, build on existing skills or try new things.
    • Physical activities (meeting Government physical activity guidelines).
    • Informal nutritional education that improves participants’ knowledge and awareness of healthy eating.
    • Nutritional education for family members.
    • To deliver sessions that operate for a minimum of four hours a day (ideally longer, for example six hours).
    • To provide signposting for families towards other information and support (The FUEL team will provide partner organisations with a flyer of local support services that can be given/sent to families).
  • How many of the designated FUEL dates (as highlighted) does this programme fall on?
  • What is in place to ensure that FUEL funded children are not ‘highlighted’ and do not ‘stand out’ to other children?
  • The amount of funding and number of places already allocated to that part of the borough and for the proposed age group.
  • How organisations intend to target and promote to the eligible groups.
  • Any discounted costs to the FUEL programme compared to paying families.
  • Previous experience with the provider - this includes feedback from families and attendance rates.

We will review applications and will notify successful applicants within a week of each deadline passing. We will confirm approval of the application which will be followed by the issue of a grant agreement (SLA). The agreement will set out the terms and conditions on which the grant is made by the Council/AfC to the recipient.

As funding is awarded based on the decision making criteria above, any changes to provision that were highlighted in the application form may affect funding, this includes a change of location

The intention is to pay the FUEL grant funding in two instalments, with 50% to be paid before the start of the programme delivery, shortly after signing the grant agreement. The remaining 50% is planned to be paid on completion of the programme and on receipt of the data required.

During programme delivery across Easter, Summer and Christmas 2024, we will carry out a visit to all providers’ activities. These visits may be either pre-arranged or unannounced.

Please note: Changes to the agreed provision as set out in an organisations SLA may result in the final 50% payment being withheld.