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Communities come together to provide free school meals over holidays

A community is rallying together to provide free school meals for children over the summer holidays.

St James’ and St Stephen’s C of E primary schools in Blackburn have come together along with St James’ C of E Church and St Stephen’s C of E Church to provide food parcels and hot meals to families.

Parents in the school are being asked to donate non-perishable items or cash to help the church community create food parcels for families who are struggling financially.

The community is also asking for volunteers to help prepare the parcels on a Monday between 10am and noon at St James’ and St Stephen’s.

The hot meals and food parcels will be available for families to collect on a Tuesday between 11am and 1pm, also at the school, with the church also seeking volunteers to help with distribution.

Vicar of St James Church and St Stephen’s Church, Little Harwood, Sarah Gill said: “Holiday hunger is one of the major concerns families have during school holiday.

“Throughout summer holiday weekly food parcels will be offered. There is also a provision for hot food for children and the menu is planned to meet the appropriate nutritious requirements.

“This is an act of helping hands and caring for our community.

“I hope the families would feel happy and value the support offered in these difficult and challenging circumstances.

“We are community and together we can meet the stressful and challenging situation by sharing food with our neighbour during the pandemic.”

Across the county, Lancashire County Council will be providing funding for schools to provide vouchers worth a total of £90.

Schools may provide this to parents and carers in one payment of £90 to cover the entire school holiday, or by weekly payments of £15, with the families of young people who have just left secondary school also set to receive the vouchers.

The scheme is being partially funded by central government’s Covid Support Grant with the shortfall being made up by Lancashire County Council.