HUNDREDS of children in Oldham will continue to get free school meals during half-term .

OLDHAM Council stepped in to back to the campaign of Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford and following the government’s refusal to provide funds for free school meals during school holidays.

A range of fun events, many of them virtual, had already been planned across Oldham for bored youngsters from Monday (October 25) and now food will be provided for those who need it the most.

Some 20 families in South Chadderton will receive food each day to include a breakfast pack, lunch pack and tea pack plus a cooking live session during the week via a virtual ‘super hero’ academy.

Sixty families in Oldham will take part in a fun week of activities where one of the sessions each day will be a cooking class where the food ingredients have been provided by the council.

Vulnerable youngsters attending a multi-sport camp at Hathershaw College will each receive a free packed lunch each day.

And families needing food support and already on the radar of Oldham Council’s five district teams will be supported, notably in Failsworth and Royton, say council bosses.

The authority had already prepared its social workers to hand out emergency food vouchers for use at local foodbanks and are also trialling a new scheme with the COOP to hand out food vouchers to children in need.

And if people are in need of help and support the council runs an emergency helpline – details at -

Cllor Arooj Shah, Oldham Council’s deputy leader with responsibility for tackling poverty in oldham, said: “The impact of Coronavirus has not just been on people’s health but also their job position and finances and we are concerned there will be even more children going hungry this half term in Oldham.

“That is completely unacceptable and we have decided to step in to fill the financial gap left pitifully by central Government and to make sure those most in need get basic meals.

“A light has been shone on this vitally important subject by the Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford and we in Oldham will step up and play our part in these difficult financial times for us all.

“We know a number of organisations and businesses are also looking to help and we thank them for schemes they are involved in and we would call on others to think of doing something similar.

“We will also keep the pressure on Central Government to ensure that the free school meals in holiday time campaign is not forgotten and we must ensure our most vulnerable are supported to get a basic meal.”