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Guest article - MakeLunch

School holidays are not just a break from the classroom. For many, they are also a break from hot meals.

For the thirteen weeks of school holidays this year, many pupils in the UK will not eat a hot meal each day. At school more than 1.2 million pupils who may otherwise go without are eligible to receive free school meals. Outside of term time though, free school meals are not available and many pupils are left without regular hot food.

This is where MakeLunch comes in. During school holidays, our network of churches and community groups open Lunch Kitchens across the UK to provide free, healthy, cooked food for pupils who usually receive free school meals. We believe that every child deserves to eat a cooked meal every day. 

Since we started in July 2011, we've cooked and served over 36,000 meals in more than 60 locations in England, Scotland and Wales.

In short MakeLunch is a fun, friendly, non-judgemental place that families can attend in the holiday, there is usually fun and games and always a hot meal. Each kitchen looks slightly different, so your local one may run like a holiday club where kids get dropped off or like a café where parents and children hang out together and eat food as a group. 

MakeLunch isn’t just about the food and often provides families and children with opportunities that they might otherwise miss out on. Some kitchens organise trips out, to the zoo or the beach, some have football coaches or animal petting sessions in their setting.  It’s also an opportunity to socialise with others, a chance for children to engage with others and learn by being a part of their community. 

This summer MakeLunch is opening across 52 different locations. To find out where, check out our MakeLunch Kitchens map or contact us at email: hello@makelunch.org.uk to find out how to go to a kitchen. 

 

Coronavirus Information

My child's school is closing due to the coronavirus outbreak. What can I do?

The government has announced that schools will be closing for the majority of students from 20 March 2020.

Children in the following groups will still be able to go to school if their parents choose to send them:

  • The children of key workers
  • Children receiving support from social services
  • Children with disabilities
  • Children with Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs​)
  • Young carers

If you need to take time off work to care for your children, you should check your employment rights on the ACAS website.
 

What if I am well but my employer tells me not to work because of the coronavirus outbreak?

This will depend on your contract and is an employment law issue. You may be able to get advice from ACAS on this. You will not be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

What if I have been in contact with someone with coronavirus and don’t want to go to work and risk infecting my colleagues and customers?

You will only be able to get special help under the coronavirus rules if you are self-isolating in accordance with NHS advice. You can find the current NHS coronavirus advice on the NHS website

What if I am not getting any customers in my self-employed business because of the coronavirus?

You may be able to claim Universal Credit, but you will not be entitled to any special support because of the coronavirus outbreak. You may have the minimum income floor applied to your claim, or you may be required to look for full time-employment.

I’m on a zero-hours contract, will I get paid if I’m told to self isolate?

If you are self-isolating in accordance with NHS guidance and you usually earn at least £120 per week, you should get Statutory Sick Pay even if you are on a zero hours contract.

What if I am homeless with no income so can’t self-isolate and need funds for accommodation?

The government has not published any guidance for what you should do if you are homeless and develop coronavirus symptoms. It would be best to contact your local authority for advice. You should do so by telephone if at all possible.