FREE food options for children and families over October half term
Help and support available to FSM pupils over half term
There are a range of options available for families to seek help in ensuring their children are properly fed over the school holidays.
Note that some of these do not operate on an ‘open access’ basis – meaning that families need to be referred by a social worker, health visitor or another referrer.
The council’s COVID-19 resident’s helpline (023 8083 4800) is open Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm for practical support and information and can make referrals to food banks and other sources of support as needed.
Support provided by schools
A number of schools are providing food directly to children in need – although this is a decision for the schools and is being handled on a school-by-school basis. Schools have also been referring families to food banks as needed. City Catering is working with schools to distribute recipe-led grocery boxes (essentially meal kits) to families that schools have identified as needing support.
Food banks run by Southampton City Mission and Poitiers Care are providing emergency food to eligible families at various venues around the city on different days of the week. Families need to be referred by an approved referrer, such as a social worker or health visitor, before they can access help
Community led efforts
There are community organisations that are providing food to eligible families:
Make Lunch Southampton East who are providing recipe kits and ingredients to families who are referred by schools
SO18 Big Local who are providing around 20 families with hot meals. Schools have been alerted so that they can signpost families.
Testlands Hub, run by the Testlands Support Project, is opening its doors to allow families to collect FREE school meals for the Millbrook, Redbridge and Coxford wards. As of Monday, families that need meals will be able to collect a bag worth £25 from Testlands Hub.
Support from businesses
Finally, businesses in the city are doing their bit. For example Lakaz Maman, run by MasterChef Winner Shelina Permalloo and City Of Culture Ambassador in Bedford Place is offering free meals to any child under 16 in the city who qualifies for free school meals for the whole of half term. (please not that I am not aware if this is being publicised at present or if the restaurant is happy for us to do so – this is background information for now).