Updated: These Banbury area organisations and restaurants are offering help or food discounts to families in need over the October half term

Several Banbury area restaurants are offering free meals for children over the half term holiday - after the government voted down a motion to extend free school meals.

The staff at Jenny's Restaurant and Cafe in the High Street of Brackley (photo from Jenny's Restaurant)
The staff at Jenny's Restaurant and Cafe in the High Street of Brackley (photo from Jenny's Restaurant)

A number of businesses across the country have offered to help by offering free meals to children, including several from the Banbury area.

The Banbury Spicy Kebabish in Broad Street made the following 'Customer Announcement' on social media on Friday October 23 to show support for families over the half term holiday.

The Spicy Kebabish said: "Following the government decision to vote against free school meals over half term we feel we would like to give something back to our local community in these uncertain times.

"This is to help those families who would usually receive free school meals. We will be providing free kids meal from our menu from 3pm till 5pm (Monday to Friday) during this half term. This is a eat in only offer. As always please adhere to social distancing measures."

The Atlantis Fish Bar is also offering a free meal for children per day during the half term week (Monday to Friday).

The fish bar posted the following message on its Facebook page: "Having been a single parent I know personally how important a free school meal can be to your family.

"No matter what your circumstances might be the fear of not having enough money to cover the bills is scary. Now with the government cutting free school meals this half term we want to help.. We want to make a stand!

The Banbury Spicy Kebabish in Broad Street is offering free kids meals next week (Monday to Friday from 3pm till 5pm) during the half term holiday

"So this week, Monday to Friday(12-2 & 4:30-6:30) We will be offering a free kids sausage and chips meals to ever child that comes in with their parent.

Just ask for the kids special when ordering. One meal per child. Per day. Let's stand together.

The Bell pub in Banbury is also offering help for families with children over the half term school break.

The Bell posted the following message on its Facebook page: "In light of the government’s announcement regarding not funding meals for children during the school holidays myself and Tom will be opening our doors from Thursday to Sunday at 10am for any child needing breakfast......this will consist of cereal and a pancake......we will also be giving each child a packed lunch to take away with them.

"Children must be accompanied by an adult who will be given a cup of coffee whilst the child/children eat. Rule of six still applies and the adult and children over 11 must wear a face mask on to the premise.

"We have been thoroughly touched by Marcus Rashfords campaign to help children and having children ourselves we would never see the local children go hungry......or any child for that matter.

"We have had some lovely offers to help with this project and anyone wanting to donate we would be more than grateful so we could possibly continue to help over the Christmas period which will be a testing time for a lot of families.

"If you know anyone that needs this help please send them our way and I would be grateful if you could all share so we can reach as many families that need help."

The White Horse on North Bar Street (used to be the Buck and Bell) is providing each child a hot meal, an ice cream and a drink plus a cuppa for mum or dad each day 11.00am-12.30pm.

Jenny's Cafe in the High Street of Brackley is also offering a similar discount to help families during the upcoming half term holiday. They also posted a similar 'Customer Announcement' on its Facebook page.

Jenny's Cafe said: "During this half term Jenny’s Brackley will help low income families who would usually receive FREE school meals by providing them with a hot children’s meal from our menu FREE of charge. Mon-Fri. 11 am till 1pm.

After Jenny's announced their intent to help out over the half term break they have now seen customers start donating meals too. The cafe has encouraged people to send them a direct message on Facebook if they would like them to prepare their child's meal for collection.

The cafe has also seen Marcus Rashford MBE retweet their pledge to help. The footballer has been retweeting businesses across England who are offering to feed school children over the holidays.

Francesca Gilgil, the owner of Jenny’s Brackley, said: "We hope to help as many children who need it that we can."

The Fox at Farthinghoe is also offering deal to help out families next week over half term.

The Farthinghoe pub posted the following message on its Facebook page: "Next week we are offering kids eat for £1.00 with a full paying adult meal.

"As well as this we have been thinking of how we can help regarding the struggles within our economy crisis. So next Monday to Thursday from 12-5 we are going to self fund FREE takeaway hot children’s lunches for those in need.

"If you, or you know of anyone who is worried about getting through half term and a child is at risk of missing out on a hot dinner we would love to help.

"You can message us personally or through the Fox messenger anytime for menu choices and to arrange a collection slot. All messages will be in confidence. Only two members of our team have access to our messages so there is no need to feel embarrassed. We are here and we are happy to help. Best wishes from all the team here at The Fox."

The George and Dragon pub in Chacombe is also offering a deal to help out during half term. The pub posted the following message on its Facebook page: "Monday-Friday- during half term, we are providing FREE meals for children in low income families who would usually receive FREE school meals- from our kids menu provided."

The Theatre Chipping Norton has also pledged to help out the community.

The theatre posted the following message on social media: "As a community building, we felt we must do something to help.

"If your family are in receipt of free school meals and will struggle without them over half term, please come and see us next week to collect a lunch pack.

"Each pack will have a sandwich, crisps, fruit, drink and a treat from Monday to Friday, available to collect between 11.30am and 1pm from the Theatre bar (in a COVID-secure manner.)

"Just drop us a message on here or to [email protected] so we know roughly how many people to expect."

Any other organisations or businesses offering similar help to the community can contact the Banbury Guardian through the following email: [email protected]