A free family meal scheme, which aims to give each funded family a hot meal three times a week, is being rolled out by Kidzrus Nursery Group in Manchester.

Following on from the success of its food bank, which catered for up to 40 families across Salford during the lockdown period, the nursery group, which has five settings in Greater Manchester, launched the hot food service this week (22 June), in partnership with local supermarket chain Morrisons of Swinton.

Nicola Fleury, Kidzrus Nursery director, told Nursery World, ‘When the nurseries were closed, we delivered food and book bundles across the community, lending a helping hand to the families of Salford, some of whom were not registered with Kidzrus, but we were fortunately still able to support. This was a great way to maintain the contact with our families and the wider community – and they were very well-received.’

Since the reopening of Kidzrus Nurseries on 1 June, Ms Fleury has recognised that there is a need for pre-prepared meals for families, particularly throughout half term and the summer holidays when some children are not receiving hot meals from nursery directly. The cooked meals will continue throughout the summer period.

Ms Fleury said, ‘With the current pandemic, family circumstances have changed dramatically: many have lost their jobs and are continuously struggling to put food on the table and accommodate their basic needs. Support for these families is more important now that it has ever been and we must work together to ensure that our children are looked after.’

The current menu rotates every three weeks and parents can either collect the meal when they pick up their child from their morning or afternoon session, or the meal can be delivered. The nursery group, in partnership with Morrisons in Swinton, has plans to extend this service to the wider community and to develop an App that will enable them to plan ahead, and for users to order meals in advance.

The foodbank and hot meal service operates from Kidzrus, Media City, Salford.

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