School opens on Christmas Eve so families can enjoy festive dinner


Kindhearted staff at a primary school are opening its kitchen on Christmas Eve to ensure families have a festive turkey dinner.

An impressive eighty Christmas lunches have been prepared and distributed by staff at St Mark’s School in Almond Croft, in Birmingham.

Head Danielle Linley said the West Midlands school stepped in to help ensure no family went hungry after the devastation caused to households during the pandemic.

It is the latest sign of the economic turmoil wreaked on families by the coronavirus crisis which has cancelled Christmas for millions living in Tier 4.

From Boxing Day, swathes of east, south east and south west England will move into Tier 4 as a mutant Covid strain spreads across the UK.

Today staff at St Mark’s School, currently in Tier 3, will make 80 traditional turkey meals and a vegetarian option with all the trimmings, finished off with a mince pie.

Later today, the dinners will be delivered to homes where they can be stored in the fridge so pupils and their family members can tuck in on Christmas Day.

Headteacher Danielle Linley said: “We were aware a lot of families had been affected by the pandemic.

“We had prepared food parcels for families in the past.

“We have also used local charities to support our families as well.

“We wanted to put it out there if families would like a meal. First it was the recipients of free school meals then we opened it up to everyone.

“We will provide a dinner free of charge and some families have five members.

“It will be a full traditional dinner with mince pie and we have a vegetarian option.”

More than a third of the UK’s poorest families will have to rely on charity food parcels this Christmas, according to research by Save the Children.

Some 60 per cent of families on Universal Credit and Child Tax Credit surveyed reported they would go into debt over the Christmas period, with 32 per cent reporting they would borrow on credit cards.

Almost seven in ten families, 69 per cent, receiving the benefits said they were more worried about their finances since the pandemic started.

Of those, 84 per cent reported they would struggle to cover the cost of Christmas this year.