A HAMPSHIRE charity has provided food for pupils entitled to free lunches during the school shutdown.

The Lymington-based New Forest Basics Bank worked with other volunteers to supply food parcels to more than 100 students from two New Milton schools - Arnewood and Eaglewood.

Each parcel contained enough food to feed a student for five days, ensuring they have something to eat until the government launches a voucher system.

Daily Echo:

Basics bank chairman Oli Stanley said: “The Covid-19 crisis is going to have a huge impact on so many families, from those who are already struggling financially to those who will face hardship as a direct result of the situation we’re in.

“Charities like ours are never going to be so needed and in many ways we will be like the fourth emergency service.

“Free school meals have been a vital way of ensuring so many of our young people receive at least one balanced meal a day.

“We knew we couldn’t afford to wait until the government could launch a voucher system to replace free meals and children would need help from day one."

Staff from Arnewood and Eaglewood contacted the basics bank to see if it could help provide lunches to students who would not be able to attend school.

On Monday they set up a mini distribution centre, with volunteers handing out the parcels throughout the afternoon.

Daily Echo:

Arnewood headteacher Nigel Pressnell said: “We are incredibly grateful to New Forest Basics Bank for helping us to ensure our students continue to receive the free meals they are entitled to.

“Eaglewood and Arnewood are very much community schools and we were worried for some of our children might be unable to access their usual free school meals.

“These are unprecedented and worrying for times for everyone who works in education. It means a lot to us that the community is rallying together to ensure there is as little impact on our students as possible.”