There is such a thing as a free lunch for children this half term

Date published: 26 October 2020

Local businesses and community groups have rallied together to offer free meals to families in Rochdale, following a government vote against extending free school meal vouchers for children over the school holidays until Easter 2021.

The bid was originally raised by footballer Marcus Rashford, who earlier this year campaigned for the government to extend the free schools meals scheme during the summer holidays. For the first time ever due to the pandemic, the government funded vouchers for those eligible for free school meals over the summer holidays to support children from disadvantaged families.

However, the government vetoed extending the vouchers over further holidays - leading many to offer free lunches for children who might otherwise go hungry.

Following the vote in parliament on Wednesday 21 October, Rochdale Borough Council announced on Friday 23 October that it will be providing £15 Aldi vouchers for children eligible for free school meals during this October half-term - one for each child.

Here's where you can claim a free lunch for your child if you need to:

Rochdale Homeless Network and Angie's Angels

John Shaw, who supports both the Rochdale Homeless Network and Angie's Angels, will be collecting leftover lunch packages to distribute to the borough's homeless population so that nothing goes to waste.

Contact John on Facebook:


River Beal Café, Milnrow

Over the half term, the River Beal Café is offering a free child's meal with every adult meal.

Oliver's Café, Milnrow

Over the half term, Oliver's Cafe is giving away kids meals, ring 01706 353507.

Chino's Kitchen, Wardle

Nabeela Malik at Chino's Kitchen has made 200 lunch packs a day and donated funds to wider efforts. 

Chino’s Kitchen will open from 1pm till 6.30pm Tue - Thursday serving kebabs, wraps and samosas. Please message the Facebook page:

Owd Betts, Norden

Offering a free child's meal with every adult meal over half-term.

Summit Inn, Littleborough

Offering a free meal for children under 10 years of age over half-term.

Heywood Fish Bar

Heywood Fish Bar is aiming to feed as many children as possible with a hot meal: sausage/fishcake; chips; peas, gravy or curry; a drink and a piece of fruit.

A donation page is available at:

Venus Lounge, Heywood

Collection only, please bring your child to Venus Lounge to collect a meal bag. Between 5pm and 6pm, Monday 26 October to Friday 30 October.

Cutgate Chippy, Rochdale

Cutgate Chippy is able to offer over 300 meals to those in need so far.

Please message via Facebook to book a meal for collection.

Boarshaw Off License

You are welcome to walk in to the shop and collect a free meal for your child/children, should you find it difficult to provide for them during the half term holidays. Contact the Facebook page confidentially to arrange before collecting from the shop:

Mainway Café, Alkrington, Middleton

Children accompanied by an adult eat free this week.

Hollin's Fish Bar, Middleton

Offering 500 free meals for anyone, not just children. The board in the shop will be kept up to date with the amount of meals remaining. You don’t have to explain your circumstances.

You can donate to provide a meal via the Hollin's Fish Bar website: Select a 'Bee Meal'.

Hills Fish and Chips, Middleton

Over 900 meals available for those in and around Middleton. A discreet system is in place, volunteers can deliver. In extreme cases, police can also help deliver. 

Help struggling families in Middleton this half term October 2020

A Facebook group for Middleton families in need:

Mrs K's Kaff, Middleton

The café is giving away 20 free breakfast/lunches from Monday to Friday, as well as 20 evening meals, collection only.

The free breakfast consists of either a bacon or sausage muffin and a bottle of water. The evening meal will consist of either a 7" cheese and tomato pizza or a children's chicken nugget and chips meal, plus a bottle of water. 

The owners ask that parents do not allow children to abuse the offer if it is not needed, to avoid depriving a child in need.

The Women of Whitworth Project

Food bags for families will be available to collect from Basil’s Traditional English Restaurant this week, Monday 26 – Friday 30 October between 11.45am and 1pm.

Delivery can be arranged by contacted the Women of Whitworth Project on 07891 506 368.

Touchstones, Rochdale

The new Your Slice Café at Touchstones Museum and Art Gallery is offering free family food packages between Tuesday 27 October – Sunday 1 November.

If you would like to request a family meal package or know someone who would, please message the Touchstones Facebook page at:

Due to current restrictions and limited seating, the meal may be packaged and supplied to reheat at home.

The packages will consist of homemade cream of vegetable soup, rolls and butter; baked potato with baked beans and/or cheese; a tray bake slice or home baked cookies.

Nutters Restaurant

Nutters Restaurant will be at Empire on Packer Street this week between 11am and 12 noon, Monday 26 to Friday 30 October, giving away 1,000 free packed lunches for local children.

There is also a fundraiser for the Nutters campaign, which you can donate to via:

The Green Door Restaurant for Reuse Littleborough 

Alison and Graham Sherwin of The Green Door are making 125 packed lunches for children of families suffering financially. The lunches will be dropped off at Reuse Littleborough at the former Royal Oak Hotel at midday everyday throughout half term for collection.

The first 25 lunches will consist of: a ham and cheese sandwich, crisps, a cereal bar, a carton of fruit juice, a yoghurt tube, a chocolate bar and a piece of fruit. Similar lunches can be expected each day.

Busy Beans Coffee

Becky and Danny O’Neill are giving away a free children’s toastie and drink from their Victoria Street coffee house.

Holy Crépe! Nowell Street, Middleton

Open especially between 12 noon and 1pm each day of half term offering a lunch bag filled with sandwiches, crisps, fruit, yoghurt, a drink and a biscuit bar.

Get in touch via Facebook:

Goodfillers Sandwich Bar, Halifax Road

Goodfillers has teamed up with the council to offer 10 children’s packed lunches a day over half term. Available from 11.30 each morning; just call in with your child.

The Grapes at Bamford

Free packed lunches for collection to any child who needs one over half term. Each lunch include a sandwich, some fruit, some crisps and a drink.

To order one for your child/children, please message the Facebook page or call the pub and ask for Nic. This will be treated in the strictest of confidence and the only proof needed is your honesty.

Army of Kindness 

  • 9 Stevenson Square, Smallbridge, OL12 9SA
  • Eden House at the former Magistrates’ Court, Rochdale, OL16 1AG
  • Freehold Annexe (opposite 271 Olney), Rochdale, OL11 4LQ
  • KYP, Belfield Road, Rochdale, OL16 2UP
  • Meadowfield Community Centre, Eafield Road, Rochdale, OL16 2TH
  • Please contact Shiri at Army of Kindness on 07788 314696 for more information.

Pre-prepared lunches by Army of Kindness, which expects to make 1,000 meals, will consist of a sandwich, fruit, chocolate, crisps and a drink. Families in need can turn up at the collection points at the given times but must wear a mask and observe the 2m social distancing rule.

The group also runs a weekly food kitchen at Eden House at the former Magistrates’ Court in Rochdale centre each Tuesday between 5pm and 6.30pm. Currently this is collection only due to the pandemic, and the group has seen an increase in demand.

Rochdale Borough Council

Rochdale Borough Council will be funding meal vouchers for children eligible for free school meals during this October half-term.

The council is spending £140,000 on providing £15 Aldi vouchers to families - one for each child eligible for free school meals. This will support over 9,300 children across the borough.

Families who are struggling can also access the new food club the council runs with charity Family Action. By paying an annual membership fee of just £1 families that join can then buy £15 of food for only £3.50 and multiple purchases can be made to support larger families. The early help teams also work with families in most need to pay for free food bags.

For more information please visit or you can phone the council's early help team on 0300 303 0440 or email them at

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