UP to 1,000 food parcels a week are set to be delivered to the homes of pupils across the county over the next fortnight by Somerset County Council Transport.

The vital deliveries will supplement the efforts of many school sites continuing to provide hot meals and/or vouchers to eligible children - while they also provide care for children of key workers.

In the first week of the holiday, 350 food parcels of food such as pasta, rice and tinned goods, were delivered from kitchens across Somerset as part of a mammoth effort to ensure vulnerable children and families are fed in these challenging times. That figure will rise to 1,000 food parcels.

Schools with food production capabilities are supporting schools without or where the Food Voucher scheme is difficult to use in more remote areas. As demand increases other sites may be mobilised using redeployed staff and volunteers.

The Oak Partnership multi-academy trust is sending out a hot lunch every day to pupils and their families in biodegradable boxes from its West Monkton Primary site.

It is also providing wrap-around care for key workers’ children – from 7.30am to 6pm five days a week throughout the Easter holiday and beyond.

Currently, it is looking after up to 47 pupils, with more due to attend soon.

As well as providing three meals a day for children attending its sites at West Monkton Primary and Hazelbrook Campus, the Oak Partnership ‘hub’ - which also includes Blackbrook and Ruishton primarues - is continuing its hot lunch offer for school communities throughout the Easter holidays. In the first week it delivered 18 – it’s now up to 133.

Oak chief executive Ian Robinson said the need is great across the areas served by the schools.

He added: “We’re assisting with the Government school voucher scheme too - but the daily lunch offer is open to all, regardless of whether they qualify, and if they have vouchers they can still order a lunch.

“I want to thank my amazing team – everyone just wants to help and do what they can, we’re all pulling together to help our communities and those vital key workers so they can do their job.”

Around 140 of the Partnership’s 300 staff are continuing to work on a rota system to ensure sites are fully operational throughout the week.

There is a comprehensive virtual school for pupils staying at home, which is regularly updated and monitored by teachers with a wide range of activities and work.