Fish and chip shops across England are supporting footballer Marcus Rashford’s campaign to extend free school meals during the holidays by offering up food for struggling families.
The Manchester United player has called on the government to extend the scheme to cover all school holidays, but Conservative MPs rejected the move.
Since the vote, chip shops have flooded social media with offers of free meals during the October half term with no questions asked.
Hodgson’s Chippy in Lancaster, Lancashire, is one those shops taking part. Nigel Hodgson, who owns the chippy with his wife Linda, comments: “It’s something we’ve been watching for a while as it’s very close to our hearts, I was one of those children on free school meals.
“I don’t want anybody coming in and being embarrassed, they just need to mention the offer once and they’ve got a free kids meals. The way our shop is set up at the moment, we only have one in, one out so that conversation stays within the shop anyway.
“We’re offering fish, chicken nuggets, fish cakes, what ever they want. At the end of the day, if they come in and get fed and that takes a little bit of pressure off for one day over the school holidays, then that’s great.”
The offer starts today, with no restrictions on the number of meals being given out, and will run until schools in the local area go back the week after next.
Nigel adds: “We’ve got so many restrictions at the moment, Lancashire is in Tier 3, people are really down. We’ve done very well over the years, we’ve been supported so strongly by our community, so this is definitely something me and Linda wanted to do to give back.”
Many other shops across England are also joining the campaign to feed vulnerable school children. Angel Lane Chippie in Penrith, Cumbria, and Fishtastic in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, have both pledged 100 small sausage and chip meals between lunchtime on Tuesday 27th and Friday 30th October. Elite on the Bail in Lincoln, meanwhile, is offering a free child's meal from the main menu.