MANY restaurants and cafes across the Harwich and Manningtree area are doing their bit to support families-in-need this half term.

Last week, the Labour Party submitted a motion in parliament proposing the extension of the free school meals scheme until at least Easter 2021.

Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford MBE had backed the campaign, highlighting the need for struggling children to have access to food when not at school.

It was subsequently defeated by a majority of 61 after 322 MPs voted against it, including Clacton's Giles Watling, Colchester's Will Quince, and Braintree's James Cleverly.

Since the vote, which has led to widespread condemnation of the Government, businesses have been stepping up and pledging to support struggling families over the holiday.

Brantham Leisure Centre's team said they have been so impressed by the selfless actions of Marcus Rashford that they have decided to act in their own village by offering free food parcels to parents and children who would normally receive free school meals during term time.

The Skinners Arms, in Manningtree, has also stepped into help.

A statement on its Facebook page said: "Here at The Skinners Arms we wish to both praise and take the lead from Brantham Athletic Football Club and Brantham Leisure Centre by offering to our local residents, for the half term week (Monday to Friday), children's free cooked lunch (takeaway) for those on low income who normally receive free school meals."

A statement from Moby Vic's, in Manningtree, said: "Moby Vic’s are always proud to support our community and proud of other businesses who do the same.

"This half term we’re offering a holiday packed lunch (sandwich, crisps, fruit and drink) to those children from low income families, who usually receive a free school meal."

Yellow Brick Road Nursery, in Parkeston, is running a holiday club for children up to the age of ten to back the campaign - and all children who attend will be offered a free lunch. 

It's running tomorrow (Tuesday) and Thursday from 9am until 1pm or 9am until 3pm

Here is the full list of the businesses in the area we know are involved:

  • Delices by Carmen at The Royal Oak, in Dovercourt.
  • Home-Start, in Harwich.
  • Ramsey Master Butchers, in Ramsey.
  • Tiny Town Beer, in Manningtree.
  • The Red Lion, in Manningtree.
  • The Skinners Arms, in Manningtree.
  • Moby Vic's, in Manningtree.
  • Brantham Leisure Centre, in Brantham.
  • Yellow Brick Road Nursery, Parkeston.
  • Riverside Fish and Chips, Manningtree
  • Buttercakes and Sweets, in Dovercourt. 
  • Lucca Enoteca, in Manningtree.
  • The Mogul, in Manningtree. 
  • Mistley Kids Club, in Mistley. 

Is your business helping out?

Email and tell us if so.