“When schools went into lockdown in March 2020, some families were faced with very challenging circumstances. It took a few weeks to get national systems working properly so there was a period of time when schools had to use their own resources to provide meals for children and their families.
“The Food Redistribution Centre provided us with regular supplies, allowing us to supplement our other supplies and support a wide range of families through all the lockdowns.
“As the crisis worsened, we began to see families losing jobs or having to self-isolate and lose work opportunities and wages. Having the supplies of food allowed us to offer practical support.
“We actually joined FareShare a few years ago. As a community school, we were noticing that as the benefits structure changed, the types of people reaching out and using foodbanks was expanding and including working families on low incomes.
“We set up a holiday food market, for families in the local community to come in and ‘shop’. It was a ‘pay what you feel’ approach and it was very well received.
“We have been able to support a wide range of families as a result of our relationship with FareShare. Around half of our pupils are eligible for free school meals. A lot of our parents work in the ‘gig’ economy, or are low paid workers, on zero hours contracts or self-employed with work drying up during the lockdowns. We have some parents who are single parents and a good number of parents who are frontline workers – carers or hospital staff.
“It’s been really vital for us to help these families.”
Cheryl Taylor – Headteacher, Grange School, Preston