Partnership work leads to rugby club running free session for summertime school meals programme

More than 90 children and young people who access the Holiday and Food programme (HAF) in Rossendale enjoyed an afternoon’s free training session with Rossendale Rugby Union Football Club, thanks to a local partnership that champions activity and community initiatives.

Haslingden based manufacturer Interfloor, who sponsor the club, arranged for coaches and players from the club to run the three hour session after being connected to HAF programme through the charity Active Lancashire, in partnership with Lancashire County Council's Targeted Youth Support service.

The session took place at Whittaker Park in Rawtenstall on Thursday, 17 August, providing a unique experience for HAF attendees.

The HAF programme provides at least four hours of activities a day, including a meal, over 16 days of the school summer holidays as well as four days for the Easter and Christmas holidays.

Clubs deliver a diverse range of activities, including football, tennis, rugby, gymnastics, athletics, rounders, basketball, swimming, paddleboarding, canoeing and fishing. Children can also take part in dance, drama and arts groups, music, DJing, computer coding and games, forest schools and cooking.

The HAF programme is coordinated locally by Rossendale Leisure Trust and commissioned by Lancashire County Council.

Active Lancashire – who manage networks of partnerships across the county for different services - connected Interfloor to the HAF programme as part of the manufacturer’s Headline sponsorship for their upcoming Active Lancashire Awards in November.

Gary McEwan, HR Director at Interfloor, said: "We believe in the power of community and the potential of the younger generation. Our collaboration with Rossendale RUFC and Active Lancashire underscores our commitment to providing meaningful opportunities for young individuals to thrive. By supporting initiatives like the HAF programme, we aim to make a lasting impact on the lives of those who need it the most.

“We hope to inspire even more young people from across the county through the awards too, as both headline sponsor and sponsor of the Primary School of the Year category.”

Lisa Spencer, Professional Youth Worker at Lancashire County Council, continued: "The partnership between Interfloor, Rossendale RUFC, and Active Lancashire exemplifies the positive change that can be achieved when organisations come together for a common cause. The afternoon of activities at Whittaker Park not only engaged the participants but also showcased the importance of community support in nurturing the growth and wellbeing of our youth."

Ian Jones, a Coach for Rossendale RUFC said, “It was a pleasure to run the session last week and provide the opportunity for attendees. It was not only fun, but helped create a sense of togetherness and community during the school holidays, giving these young people a chance to shine.”

The HAF programme continues to run throughout the summer. To get a free place on the HAF programme, your family needs to be eligible for free school meals, although some children may be eligible for a place using discretionary criteria. Additional paid places are available to all children, with some taken up by visitors wanting to improve their English speaking skills.

A full timetable of activities in Rossendale is available at 

Main photo: Some of the young attendees with (adults, from left) Lisa Spencer (Youth Worker), Natalie Laird (Family Intensive Support Worker, Lancashire County Council) and Ian Jones (RUFC coach).

Second photo: Two young people playing rugby.

Active Partnerships
Lancashire and South Cumbria Health and Care Partnership
Funded by UK Government Levelling Up