Free School Meals food hampers: Portsmouth, Fareham, Havant and Gosport parents praise schools for help

PARENTS across The News area have praised the efforts of schools to provide decent free school meals hampers.

By Tom Morton
Sunday, 17th January 2021, 12:58 pm
Updated Sunday, 17th January 2021, 1:15 pm
The picture of the food hamper shared on The News Facebook page by Nicola Bone, who thanked St Anthony's School in Titchfield Common
The picture of the food hamper shared on The News Facebook page by Nicola Bone, who thanked St Anthony's School in Titchfield Common

Nationally the hampers, provided in the main by catering contractors, have come in for criticism – with one infamous example from a company called Chartwells calculated as being worth £5.22 when it should have contained £15-worth of food. Footballer and food campaigner Marcus Rashford intervened, saying that it was not good enough and ‘we must do better’.

Kylie Butcher from Landport got in touch with The News to praise the efforts at Arundel Court Primary, where her three children go. And after seeing that, readers on our Facebook page also wanted to share their appreciation of help from schools.

Nicola Bone shared a picture of what had been distributed by St Anthony’s in Titchfield Common. She said: ‘This is where my eldest goes. Plus a £30 food voucher. I was in tears as I didn't expect this. As a recently single mum of three who had to give up a 20yr+ working career I'm still figuring out what support we can get so didn't even know we were entitled to help in this way. This should keep us going till the end of Feb if we're careful.’

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Jo Buckley added that Copnor Primary School has been excellent, and Marge Gatrell said the same about Cottage Grove Primary.

Charlene Siddall praised Craneswater Junior School, saying: ‘Honestly the hampers are great, thanks to the schools and Caterlink. The teacher personally delivered to my door because I was unable to get out and collect.’

Mel Legg commented: ‘Before Christmas Ryan had to isolate because he had been in contact with a child in his class that tested positive. The day Ryan was meant to go back I had Covid... not from him or his school, but from my older son who had been on a course. So Ryan couldn’t go back. His school, Park Community in Leigh Park, sent him a big bag full of goodies... snacks, deodorants etc. It was a lovely surprise.. and meant Ryan didn’t miss out on the Christmas festivities.’

Zoe Packer wrote: ‘I think there has been too much bad news about these hampers. I was very grateful to my son’s school for the food we received.’

Louise Wrigley added: ‘Ours wasn't all perfect produce... but in my home anything was a welcome and fully appreciated help!’

‘So glad there is a positive after so much negative,’ said Sarah O'shea, and Gill Colling wrote: ‘I’m very pleased to see this. It does not mean I am not angered by the minimalist hampers given elsewhere but these children will be well set up for learning.’