Hertsmere Borough Council has agreed a plan to ensure that every child in the borough who needs a hot meal during the Christmas school holidays will be able to get one for free.

The council has put aside £10,000 which will go towards paying for the costs of transporting and delivering meals to children in need.

It comes after a campaign led by footballer Marcus Rashford and subsequent motion from the Labour party to extend the holiday free school meals programme until Easter was turned down by the government.

There are just over 1,800 Hertsmere children who are eligible for free school meals during term time across the borough.

This project will ensure all those youngsters can access hot food delivered to their area when schools close in December.

The hot nutritious food, with a different menu every day, will be cooked fresh daily at the new state-of-the-art charitable GMSP Akshaya Patra Kitchen in Watford.

The foundation is already working with a number of local authorities in England on similar projects.

Borehamwood Times:

Council leader Morris Bright, pictured with Ramesh Sachdev, co founder of GMSP Foundation

The council will now further develop its plans on collection from the kitchens in Watford and delivery within the borough.

Conservative leader of Hertsmere Borough Council, Cllr Morris Bright, said: "Whilst the discussions have been continuing about funding of free school meals outside of term time, here in Hertsmere we’ve acted quickly to ensure that families who are struggling financially don’t have to worry about getting a hot meal for their children during the forthcoming Christmas holidays.

"I’m very grateful to the GMSP Foundation and Akshaya Patra for their very generous and proactive offers of support in looking after the borough’s children."

Council managing director, Sajida Bijle, added: "The coronavirus pandemic has brought added stresses to families and, with so much financial uncertainty for many at present, it is crucial local councils continue to act and provide support.

"This also now means helping to feed school children, some of whom who have fallen in to hunger poverty in recent times."

Ramesh Sachdev, co-founder of the GMSP Foundation, said: "I have lived with my family in Hertsmere for more than 40 years. This country and this borough have afforded me many opportunities.

"I’m honoured to be able to help fund supported food programmes and I also want to give back to the area that has given so much to me and my family."