FOLLOWING the decision by MPs earlier this week to reject plans to extend free school meal provision for vulnerable children to cover school holidays, businesses across the country have been stepping up to fill the gap.

As part of a campaign led by England football star Marcus Rashford, many cafes and restaurants have joined the drive to ensure no child goes hungry this half term.

Here are some cafes, pubs and restaurants in the North Hampshire area which are offering free food to those who need it next week.

  • We will be updating this list regularly. Spotted somewhere we’ve missed? Let us know! 

The Tea Bar

London Street, Basingstoke, RG21 7NT

Tel: 01256 353332

Posting on facebook, the cafe said: “Free school meals will be available from The Tea Bar everyday during the school holidays, between 3pm and 5pm. Starting this Monday. Eatin or take away. Covid safe environment.”

Wellington Social Club 

Elmwood Way, Basingstoke, RG23 8LE

Tel: 01256 414455

Their post read: "We are offering a packed lunch consisting of a sandwich (ham,cheese or jam) packet of crisps, piece of fruit (banana or apple), yoghurt and biscuit.

"You can order through the mobile number 07514070995, stating a name, how many lunches, what filling for the sandwich + what fruit and how many days you would like. Running from Mon-fri.

"Collection will be from the club between 12-1. We are able to deliver if necessary so include post code and door number with order.

"We will set up a ‘Donation Station’ at the club as we know  our members would like to help support the club support the children of our community."

Whitchurch Silk Mill 

Winchester Street, Whitchurch, RG28 7AL

Tel: 01256 892065

The Whitchurch Silk Mill will be offering free school lunch boxes from Monday - Friday between 11am and 1pm from their welcome building.

It posted on Facebook: “We understand times are hard for people. We also believe that no child should go hungry over the half-term break. So we have decided to support our local community and Marcus Rashford’s scheme to offer free school meals next week over half term.”

The Shack Cafe

London Road, Hook, RG27 9EH

Tel: 01256 762102

The cafe posted on their Facebook page, saying: “The Shack Cafe is happy to give a free meal to any child and cup of tea to their parent or career, during half term. We believe we should all stand together.”

The White Hart

London Road, Overton, RG25 3NW

Tel: 01256 771431

“No child should ever go hungry,” it posted on Facebook.

“In these tough times, we want to give back to our community that has supported us so much, especially in this difficult year, by offering a FREE LUNCH PACK available to collect from the pub  for any child. A sandwich, drink, piece of fruit and a bag of crisps.”

Lunches will be available from Monday, October 26 and the pub asks people to message ahead to let them know numbers. It will also be offering free sit-in meals for children eating with an adult at any time over half term.

The Pheasant Highclere 

Andover Road, Andover, RG20 9SE

Tel: 01635 253360

The pub posted on Facebook to say it will be offering 30 food boxes containing carrots, potatoes, bread, pasta, peas, minced beef, chicken breasts and sausages. These will be available to those who need them with “no judgement, no questions asked.” 

The post said: “No children should ever have to go hungry. So where the government won’t step in, we will. Alongside lots of other amazing businesses that are doing the same thing up and down the country.

“Huge thanks to our amazing suppliers Thatcham Butchers and Chefs Delight for helping us put these together.”

White Horse Inn

Mullens Pond, Andover, SP11 8EE

Tel: 01264 772401

The White Horse Inn will be offering 15 free packed lunches each day between Monday, October 26 and Friday, October 30, on a first come first served basis. 

Posting on Facebook, the business said: “It’s difficult to accept, and for some even more difficult to believe, that there are still children going hungry in our country, county, towns, local villages and streets. But it's TRUE. No child should ever go hungry.

“Times are hard enough for everyone at the moment and we would like to play a small part along with our other fabulous local businesses to prevent child hunger during these school holidays.

“This is a small gesture to a huge problem that we know we can't fix alone but as a community we might be able to make  a small difference to a few families. Be rest assured that all details will be kept confidential no questions no judgement.”

Cafe Bridge

Bridge Street, Andover, SP10 1BE

Tel: 01264 335522

Cafe Bridge already offers a ‘Pay it forward’ scheme which allows customers to donate other people’s coffees or food, and for anyone who needs to cash in one these prepaid ‘post-it’ gifts. 

The cafe reiterated that this support will be available to anyone in need over the holidays, writing on Facebook: “If you are struggling in half term to feed your children and yourselves  please please come to us.

“You can come in and choose a post it note from our board by the till and we will provide you and your children with lunch, no questions asked. (we might ask if you would like ketchup)

“We have to adhere to the recent regulations so if the cafe is at capacity we can offer you lunch to take away. We are open Mon-Fri 9.30am-2pm. We are all in this together.”

Baguette de Moet

Union Street, Andover, SP10 1PA

Tel: 01264 362944

The cafe will be offering filled half baguettes for any childer under 12 in need of lunch next week. Phone ahead and they will be available to collect 10-11am and 1:20-2:30pm. 

Its Facebook post read: “Following the news that the government are no longer offering free school meals this half term, we are trying to do our bit to help the community.

“Each day during this half term we are offering 20 half sized baguettes (filled with either Tuna Mayo or Ham & Cheese) for any child in need aged 12 & under.

“If any of our customers would like to help out and donate £2, we are able to add an extra portion to the total per day. Any unclaimed ones will be carried over to the total for the next day and we will update our page each day with the available total.”

The Anton Arms

Salisbury Road, Andover, SP10 2JN

Tel: 01264 352627

The pub will be operating a Pay It Forward scheme for half term. For every adult meal purchased, the customer will have the option to donate £1 which will cover a child’s meal. 

It wrote on Facebook: “With half term coming we know there will be children who won’t have normal school meals. Do you know someone who needs meals for there child??

“For every adult meal purchased you have the opportunity to purchase a kids meal for £1 which we can either box up for you to takeaway and give to the child who needs it, or you can donate the meal so we can give away to other children that need it.

“Let’s help each other in these tough times.”

The Queen Charlotte

London Road, Andover, SP10 2PR

Tel: 01264 748946

The pub will be offering 10 free children’s meals each day, Monday - Friday, next week between 12 and 1pm. 

Its Facebook post read: “As the 299 Tory MP's voted against feeding the poorest children in the country this week, we decided to try and help a little bit.

“You must book for eating in or taking away, first come first served and proof that the child would normally be in receipt of free school lunches will be required.”

The Hawk Inn

Sarson Lane, Amport, SP11 8AE

Tel: 01264 710371

The pub is offering either a free packed lunch or cooked meal to any child 12 or under who needs it next week. 

Posting on facebook, it said: “No child should ever go hungry. In these tough times, we want to give back to our community that has supported us so much, especially in this difficult year, by offering FREE MEALS FOR KIDS (12yrs and under) this half term.

“FREE LUNCH PACK available to collect from the pub or enjoy in the pub with dining parents at lunchtime,  for any child. A sandwich, drink, piece of fruit and a bag of crisps. 

“FREE HOT MEAL from our kids menu. Available every lunch or evening from 12pm - 2:30pm & 5.30pm - 7pm”

Down At the Chippie 

Andover Road, Ludgershall, SP11 9LU

Tel: 01264 398104

Between Monday 26 and Friday 30 October, the Ludgershall fish and chip shop will be offering a free cone of chips and small sausage to all school-aged children every afternoon and evening.

Posting on Facebook, the team wrote: “We have had an amazing donation for the cost of  37 children's meals. The person who donated wishes to stay anonymous. Thank you very very much from all of the chippie team.  

“It’s beautiful how many people, small businesses and other organisations have pulled together to ensure children are still getting a warm meal. Big love.”