Eastbourne offers free school meals in response to Marcus Rashford campaign

Eastbourne organisations are offering free packed lunches to families that need it.
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Recent work from footballer Marcus Rashford has inspired many businesses across the UK to offer free meals to stop children going hungry, and Eastbourne is no different.

This comes in the same week that Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell voted against the government on October 21 in favour of extending the free school meals scheme.

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She also resigned from her ministerial post in reaction to the vote.

Lucy Hancock outside her Art House Creative Cafe in Grove Road, Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-181106-103439008Lucy Hancock outside her Art House Creative Cafe in Grove Road, Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-181106-103439008
Lucy Hancock outside her Art House Creative Cafe in Grove Road, Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-181106-103439008

The Art House, on Grove road, is one cafe that has chosen to help by offering children’s packed lunches this week (October 26-30) as children are off school for the half term break.

It was even retweeted by Marcus Rashford, gathering a lot of social media attention.

Lucy Hancock, owner of The Art House, said, “If there was ever a time for us to pull together and help those in need, it is now.

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“Covid is affecting us all and when the government refuses to help our children, then I think it’s only right we all help them where and how we can.”

Mandy Mulford from St Elisabeth's church SUS-201023-182358001Mandy Mulford from St Elisabeth's church SUS-201023-182358001
Mandy Mulford from St Elisabeth's church SUS-201023-182358001

It said anyone wanting to claim this offer should message The Art House on Facebook, or call the cafe on 01323 728691 to order a packed lunch.

St Elisabeth’s church in Old Town is also offering free packed lunches this week.

The lunches will be available at the church from 10am-12pm all of the half term week (October 26-30). This is eligible for any child that attends a school in Old Town.

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Mandy Mulford, church manager, said, “When the government overwhelmingly decided to vote against extending free school meals into the school holidays, I felt compelled to do something. Thankfully we have the means at St Elisabeth’s with space and a large commercial kitchen to put together a project like this.

“I put a post on Facebook on Thursday (October 22) saying that we were doing this and asked people to share it so we could reach as many families as possible before the half term starts.

“We had £120 in the kitty so I was hoping we could also get a few food donations to help us bring everything together. I wasn’t expecting the response I got! The generosity, encouragement, love and passion shown by our local community means that not only can we provide the most fantastic packed lunches, we will also be in a position to offer staple larder items too.

“I would like to thank everyone who has donated food, money and time and for generating such a wonderful community spirit over this issue.”

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Anyone wanting to donate packed lunch-style food, or offer their time to help, can email Mandy Mulford at [email protected]

Eastbourne AFC is also offering free school meals to those who receive them. This will take place on Monday and Tuesday (October 26 and 27). Anyone wanting to claim a free meal should go to The Oval on Channel View Road between 12pm-2pm where there will be sandwiches, snacks and a drink available. If there is a demand, the group will also run this on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (October 28-30).

Not only are free meals on offer, La Vida hair and beauty are giving free haircuts to kids for the next two weeks. From today (October 26), the salon is offering two weeks of free haircuts for youngsters that attend school in Eastbourne and receive free school meals.

Jason Bailey, director of La Vida, said people should call 01323 727272 to book an appointment, as the offer is subject to availability.