BUSINESSES, charities and community groups across the region have stepped up to offer free meals for children who might struggle to eat during half term.

The move came after Parliament voted against a proposal to provide free school meals during the holiday.

In a true testament to Dursley and Cam’s community spirit, dozens of groups and businesses have offered their support.

Spring Villa Sports Bar & Café in Dursley is one of those to come forward to help.

They said: “We are disappointed that the government has decided not to provide free school meals during half term, and we want to help.

“Therefore, until Friday, all school aged children eat free between 11am to 2pm.

“We are in a lucky position where we are able to help the community for all their loyal support, and what is a more worthy cause than ensuring children are well fed?”

Inspired by football star Marcus Rashford, they acted after MPs rejected a call for the scheme to be extended to see families through half term and the forthcoming Christmas holiday.

The failure of the Labour motion in Parliament led to a backlash against those Conservative MPs who opposed it - but it also led to urgent action.

GL11 Community Hub, in partnership with Stroud District Council, launched their half term lunches offer on Saturday, so that parents could get their lunches in good time for the holiday.

And then on Monday, Gloucestershire County Council announced that it was going to act and ensure every child in Gloucestershire who is entitled to a free school meal would be provided with lunch vouchers.

As well as working with GL11, Stroud District Council also joined forces with Wotton Area Mutual Aid (WAMA), The Long Table and All

Pulling Together (APT) to provide meals.

These are far from the only organisations stepping up - dozens of cafes, restaurants, community groups and businesses have acted.

The office of Stroud district MP Siobhan Baillie, who abstained from the vote to extend free school meals over holidays, was targeted on Monday, as people wrote protest messages on empty plates and left them outside.