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Funding helps to feed families during pandemic

Published May 19, 2020 11.05am

A County Durham partnership has awarded £2,000 to help prevent local primary school pupils from going hungry during the coronavirus crisis.

Esh Winning School food parcel

Volunteer, Jack Hattersley and headteacher, Caroline Hodgson

Mid Durham Area Action Partnership (AAP) is supporting the efforts of Brandon Primary School and Esh Winning Primary School to keep children fed during the current pandemic. 

The AAP has granted £1,000 of funding to each school, to fund food projects for families in need. Esh Winning Primary School benefitted from the AAP's coronavirus response fund, whilst Brandon Primary School benefitted from both the coronavirus response fund and the neighbourhood budget of Cllr John Turnbull.

Brandon Primary School is using the funding to boost initiatives such as providing packed lunches and food parcels to families who normally receive free school meals, and who are struggling to afford food with their children at home during lockdown. 

Free breakfast packs and food parcels

Using additional funding from the Greggs Foundation, the school are also providing the high proportion of children who normally attend its breakfast club each morning with free breakfast packs.

The AAP's donation and the school's funds will be combined with funding from Believe Housing and Brandon and Byshottles Parish Council, to purchase and deliver food parcels to all families who contact the school in need.

Judith Hodgson, headteacher at Brandon Primary School, said: "Thank you to everyone who continues to support the school to help families in need."

Emergency deliveries

Esh Winning Primary School is also supporting parents and carers whose finances have been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, by delivering emergency food bags containing three days' worth of food, to help protect and support vulnerable and at-risk families. 

The money supplied by Mid Durham AAP will help fund the school's scheme which, as well as supporting its own pupils, is also now supporting families from the village's other school, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs.

Parent support

A parent support advisor is also helping families to access additional services and the school has become the temporary location of the Esh Winning Food Bank too.

Caroline Hodgson, headteacher at Esh Winning Primary School, said: "We are always looking for different ways that we can support all of our families and, even more so in these worrying and anxious times. It is superb and humbling that the AAP has recognised our efforts and have been able to offer a substantial amount of money, which will help us to support our families and make a difference. We are very grateful for this act of kindness and generosity."

Helping to ease immense pressure

Derek Snaith, Mid-Durham AAP Coordinator, said: "For families in our AAP area who rely on benefits or whose family members worked for local firms that closed as a result of the pandemic, there is little to no money coming into the household, and they are under immense pressure to be able to provide food. 

"These two schools are a credit to their community. Esh Winning has created a real social welfare hub, taking advantage of the school facilities whilst they are not in full use and Brandon Primary School has done an amazing job of pulling together a combination of funding so quickly to support and help families in need.

"The essential support each project is providing is welcomed by families in both villages."

£1.4m of coronavirus funding

The funding awarded comes from a pot of £1.4m, given to AAPs by our council to help respond to the coronavirus crisis, ensuring local projects receive help to support those most in need in communities.

The fund helps support the many community initiatives taking place to ensure their most isolated residents are receiving provisions and support when they are unable to get out and do not have family and friends locally to help. 

The other element of the funding is to support community and voluntary sector organisations to ensure they survive through this period where they are having to close temporarily. 

For more information about AAPs' work to identify local priorities across the county, and the support and funding they are offering during the coronavirus crisis, visit our Area Action Partnerships web page.

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