Brentford FC Community Sports Trust stepped in during lockdown to ensure students eligible for free school meals at Oak Hill Academy had them delivered to their doorstep.
During January, three volunteers from the Trust collected food parcels from Oak Hill and handed them over to families.
Since the onset of the current lockdown, the Government’s food parcel scheme has dominated the news agenda, raising questions and doubts over the suitability of the food packages and their contents. The Government recently performed a U-turn and has now agreed to reinstate food vouchers so that families can shop for themselves and buy food they prefer to eat.
For Rachael Saim, Principal of Oak Hill, this has not been an issue because she and her team went above and beyond for students to ensure they received a sizeable and nutritious food parcel of the same quality as the meals the students would usually eat in school.
Mrs Saim explained: “Oak Hill wanted to try to ensure all families got a good deal with their food hampers and it was important to receive one for each child in the household not simply one bag per family.
“We are incredibly grateful to the Brentford FC charity who delivered the food hampers to the doorstep! Thank you to all those heroes!
Thanks to Brentford FC CST, Oak Hill’s students had the parcels delivered straight to their homes. Around 71 food parcels were dispatched by the Trust over two weeks to the eligible families of Oak Hill.
Amber Lloyd, Female Football Development Co-Ordinator at BFCCST, commented: “After speaking to a member of staff at Oak Hill and explaining how we wanted to help local young people during the latest lockdown, she mentioned that not all young people and families were able to collect the food parcels.
“We wanted to help in as many ways as possible. Linking up with local schools has meant we are able to help deliver the food to the young people and families.”
Oak Hill and Brentford FC share a long-term partnership where students have had many opportunities to take part in coaching sessions offered by the football club, and due to the current pandemic, the Trust have adapted their services to include free online coaching sessions for young people.
But recently, when students and families needed a different kind of support, Brentford FC Community Sports Trust were still keen to help: “We wanted to continue to support as many young people and their families as possible during the third lockdown”, Amber explained.
Due to pressure from families, the media and high-profile figures, including Marcus Rashford, who initially campaigned for the Government to continue offering free school meal vouchers to those eligible during the first lockdown last year, the Government decided to end the food parcel scheme and reinstate the voucher system.
Although Brentford FC CST no longer need to deliver food parcels for Oak Hill, they will continue to offer free online coaching sessions to young people to support them during the pandemic. To find out more, click here.