A thousand of the most vulnerable school children and their families in Somerset will receive free weekly food parcels from independent co-educational boarding school, Millfield, in Street.
While the government has announced it is launching a national voucher scheme, Millfield is working with Street Parish, Mendip District and County Councils in Somerset, as well as independent food supplier Chartwells, to help ensure Somerset children eligible for free school meals and their families will continue to have access to healthy, fresh food during school closures due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The hampers, which are worth almost double the government’s £15 food vouchers, include enough fresh fruit, vegetables, bread, pasta, eggs, cheese, meat and canned goods for lunch and dinner for an entire family, as well as recipe ideas created by Millfield staff.
Over £16,000 has been raised from parents and staff members from the school, as well as donations from Street’s Home Bargains branch and local Street grant-making charity, The NineSquare Trust. The funding means the service will be able to run for at least the next two months, with capacity to extend to September 2020.
Mendip District Councillor Liz Leyshon says, “The Community Support Group in Street has been very fortunate in having Millfield School as one of our partner organisations during the Covid-19 crisis. With all of Street and surrounding villages to cover for deliveries, the generosity and community spirit of the Headmaster and staff has made a huge difference to our ability to offer essential goods like medicines and food to residents who have been unable to go out. In all my years of being educated, working and living in Street I have never seen Millfield School so involved with the local community and I look forward to finding ways to continue our work together once life, and school, return to normal.”
Councillor Claire Axten, Co-Chair of Governors of one of the schools and Vice Chair of Street Parish Council, says, "It has been amazing to work with Millfield School in the enormous task of providing food and support for vulnerable families. The generosity of the leadership and staff at Millfield, both with the resources and their time, is truly inspiring. Nothing appears to be too much trouble for them and when new families are identified as needing help, this is very quickly actioned, usually the same day. What shines through is the care and concern for the families and children. Having worked in education in Street for thirty years it is wonderful to see Millfield School working alongside the community in such a proactive and positive way.”
Millfield Headmaster Gavin Horgan says,“Though we welcome the government’s support with food vouchers, here at Millfield we believed that more could be done to support local families, particularly those from rural areas. Children, and their mums and dads, need their focus now more than ever, and the last thing they need is to be working on an empty stomach. These food parcels will give children across central Somerset and beyond the fuel they need to continue their education into the summer.”
Find out more about Millfield's relationship with the local community during the coronavirus outbreak here.