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Free meals for children to support local families this half term

CATS Colleges, a global group of independent schools, is showing its support to end food poverty by offering free hot lunches for local school children during half-term.

Healthy food
Healthy food

A collection and takeaway service is available from today (Monday, October 26) to Friday (October 30) from its college in the Chesterton area of the city for as many children as possible by prior arrangement.

There is no charge and families’ privacy will be maintained.

Christopher Stacey, CEO of CATS Colleges Group, said: "As an operator of schools, we want to do our bit to support local families and help put an end to food poverty.

"Satisfying hunger is a basic need, and no child today should go hungry. Along with exercise, a nutritious hot meal is essential for health, wellbeing and cognition. To comply with social distancing measures, we are offering a collection service - all parents need to do is call or email us to arrange.”

To arrange a hot lunch for your child/children, contact Anna Coakley at CATS Colleges at acoakley@catseducation.com, or call 07825 296152.

Meanwhile, a new website - freemeals.uk - shows the 700-plus restaurants which are giving away free children's meals during half term

The site allows parents to enter their postcode to help them find their nearest participating restaurants. The website also allows other restaurants looking to help out to get involved in the scheme.

The launch comes after a Commons debate last week saw an overwhelming majority of conservative MPs vote against a motion to provide 1.4 million disadvantaged children with free meals during school holidays until Easter 2021.

Website creator, Tom Oakley, who initiated the project, said: “Having seen Marcus Rashford's tweets on Friday morning listing the venues offering free food to hungry school children, I felt I could use my tech skills to build something to show these in a more easily accessible way.

“From there, I managed to find some wonderful volunteers to design and help me develop the site.”

The government has since faced mounting pressure to U-turn on their decision, following increased public anger in response to reports that catering services in the House of Commons are subsidised by the taxpayer.

This is despite MPs earning on average £81,932 each year, almost four times the London living wage.

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