A HIGH school has been helping parents navigate through the added pressure of the pandemic by providing them with free food.

Clacton Coastal Academy, in Pathfields Road, has been partially closed since the start of the coronavirus lockdown.

During that time, pupils have been studying at home, with teachers holding virtual lessons to ensure education continues as best it can.

In support of parents and carers having to adapt to the added pressures of home-schooling, the pastoral team has been making weekly or daily calls to families.

Following a number of welfare calls and door-step conversations, it quickly became clear to the group that some households needed some further support

In response, Liz Wells, assistant vice principal, decided to launch the Clacton Coastal Academy Food Bank, to ensure no pupils or families go hungry.

“It has been incredibly successful, the generosity of people is overwhelming, and our staff room looks like a Tesco Express,” said interim head teacher, Mrs Jo Cookson.

“This service is open to any of our families who need support and orders are taken daily and deliveries are made every afternoon.

“We have secured a £1000 grant from the Essex Community Covid-19 Fund so we can continue to support our families throughout the summer and beyond.”

Endorsed by Tendring Council, which has now listed the foodbank as a service on its website, the initiative has resulted in donations from staff and the community.

The local Asda supermarket has also contributed to the project, handing over bundles of food and toiletries, as well R F Clarke Farms, in St Osyth, which donated potatoes.

One parent, known as Mrs Barrett, praised the school for going “above and beyond” to ensure its pupils and their families remained safe, educated, and supported.

“I wanted to thank the school who, over the period since they had to close, have gone above and beyond,” she said.

“This period of time has been relentless in what it has thrown at us all, but Clacton Coastal Academy has done everything and more.

“As a mum of a Year 10 pupil I cannot thank or praise the school enough for all that it continues to do for my daughter.

“Thank you to all teachers who have made this whole period as stress free as possible through their hard work, dedication and commitment.”