THE Winchester community has come together to provide free food for vulnerable children over half term.

This comes after central Government voted against extending free school meals throughout the holiday, which runs from today (October 26) to October 30.

Both Winchester and Chandler's Ford MP Steve Brine and Flick Drummond, MP for the Meon Valley, voted against the extension.

Here is a list of the places that will help:

1. The Carroll Centre, Somers Close, Stanmore

During half-term week The Carroll Centre in Stanmore is providing 30 meals per day to families from Stanmore School.

Jool Heller-Dixon, the head of centre said: "We are sadly only too aware of food poverty and the impact this is having on the well-being and development of our children in our area.

"We could not stand by and see this inequality played out."

2. Unit 12 CIC, Winnall Valley Road, Winchester

Unit 12 is also playing its part over this week.

It is used as a community hub, and can be contacted on: 07596322066.

3. Meon Valley Food Bank

The church-led charity helps people all year round and will continue to offer support this week.

Visit the charity's website for more information.

4.Anatolian Restaurant, Bishop's Waltham

On Facebook the restaurant posted: "We were as stunned as you all that the government have refused to provide free school meals over half term to children in need.

"Therefore we are happy to donate a free meal from our children’s menu to any child in need this half term (Monday to Sunday between 12noon and 2pm).

"Please share the word. We want to help as many kids as possible."

5. Julia's Kitchen, Bishop's Waltham has teamed up with Ron Upfield Ltd

This two-business team will provide for local children.

In a Facebook post, Ron Upfield Ltd said: "Like most people, we are concerned at the Government's vote against helping children in need over the school holiday.

"Unfortunately we are pretty useless at making sandwiches, but we have asked Julia's Kitchen in the High Street to come on board with us and offer a free lunch (sandwich and fruit/crisps) to any school age child that requires it over the half term week.

"Please message them on Facebook and you can arrange to collect."

6. Hoxton Bakehouse, Bishop's Waltham

A spokesperson for the chain, which has a store in Brook Street, Bishop's Waltham, said: "Come and grab a free packed lunch next Wednesday to Friday at any of stores. Cheese and ham roll, mini brownie, orange juice and some fresh fruit."

7. Mermaids of Botley, Botley High Street

"Over half term to support the community in Botley, as they have supported us as we recently opened in the village, if your child needs a lunch - just message us," the business posted on Facebook.

"We have put together a family lunchbox, so you can make sure you and your children have something to eat together. If you are struggling with lunches for your family next week you can collect one from our deli for free.

"We are a small family business with young kids ourselves and believe no child should go hungry.

"Everyone has been effected by Covid and we’ve only recently rebuilt our business and opened in Botley, but want to help if we can. Just message us."

8. Giorgio's Mediterranean Restaurant and Bar, Bishop's Waltham

The business said: "After the recent announcements, starting from October 27, Giorgio's will be providing free school lunches to local children.

"Collection between 12-2pm, please send us a message on Facebook or email 24 hours beforehand so we can prepare."