Warrington’s businesses, schools and partners have been praised for their commitment to ensuring the town’s children aren’t left hungry over school holidays.

In line with Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford’s campaign for free school meals during holidays, Warrington’s schools, businesses, council services and other partners have been working together to ensure no child goes hungry over the holidays, through a true community-led approach.

The council’s Early Help team are currently coordinating local business offers of free food on the My Life Warrington website, and schools are working with families to ensure that there is support available for families who may be struggling.

The council’s Early Help service has been working throughout lockdown to support children, young people and their families through virtual, socially-distanced and COVID-secure interventions and services. One part of this offer has been supporting the distribution of food packages and food vouchers. This has been alongside the outstanding effort from Warrington’s early years settings, schools and colleges, who have ensured that their pupils have access to food.

Working together into the future

Support provided for families by the council will not stop after the school holidays, and plans are in place to form a Warrington-wide response group that will look at the issue of holiday hunger and food poverty in the future, alongside the broader issue of supporting children and families throughout the difficulties of the pandemic.

Cabinet member for children’s services, Cllr Matt Smith, said: “We want to make sure that there are long-term, permanent arrangements in place in Warrington that address food poverty in the borough, including providing support for children to stop them from going hungry outside of term-time. Working with our businesses, parish councils and other partner organisations, I am confident that we can find a community-based, Warrington-wide model that works to support our vulnerable children and their families.

“It is our vision that no child in Warrington will ever go hungry and we now need to ensure there are processes in place that we can take forward with our partners. I would like to sincerely thank the huge ‘team effort’ we have already seen across Warrington – it has been heartening to see our town’s collective response to tackling holiday hunger.”

If you need help or support

Any family in need of support during the half-term holiday is urged to contact the council’s Early Help team and Families information service  on 01925 443131 or mylife@warrington.gov.uk