Many of you will have heard about the Government’s vouchers scheme to ensure families that qualify for free school meals continue to have access to good healthy food whilst schools across the county have been closed. The voucher scheme wasn’t without its problems but lots of excellent work has happened at a more local level in partnership between the County’s school meals team, the schools themselves and TaylorShaw, the private sector contractor which provides school meals in many of the county’s schools. Many schools have stayed open as hubs for children of key workers and vulnerable children and 54,000 meals have been provided in those hubs with special effort being made round Easter time and VE day. TaylorShaw kitchen staff organised special ‘Fun to cook’ sessions during the lockdown period. In Weardale, the head of Stanhope Barrington CE Primary School decided early on not to go down the voucher route. Working with the school chef, his school team, Weardale AAP, local businesses and others, he made sure families who qualified for free school meals would get a delivery of packed lunches prepared in the school kitchen, where possible finding funding to help others in the family too. TaylorShaw area managers and others helped deliver those packed lunches, often going the extra mile! Cooperation between schools, the catering teams, the local community and the County can be a power for good indeed.