ILKLEY people have rallied to fill the free school meals gap over the half-term and Christmas holidays. Over the summer over 60 families were supported by our schools with the teachers collecting, packing and distributing to families in need.

From now on as part of the town's Covid-19 response a huge number of volunteers and businesses have come together to make sure no child is hungry in Ilkley over the holidays, by supporting the schools fantastic efforts.

Co-ordinator Becky Malby said: "Vouchers have been provided by Toast, La Stazione and Loafer Bakery for this half term, and donations to the Covid-19 response have enabled us to offer vouchers for meals at Christchurch cafe. The foodbank is also offering Free School Meals opening hours.

"It was amazing that all of this was organised last Friday afternoon, and over £2000 donated over the weekend.

"For the Christmas holidays we will be making up food parcels and schools will be distributing these every week. It is important that schools continue to be the point of contact with families, and that Ilkley volunteers do all the leg work so that families can get what they need in the holidays, and teachers get the help they need to support these families. One of our volunteers wrote to say how humiliating it was when her family needed help like this when she was at school, and she is grateful to be able to help now.

"Right now we have asked people to make Christmas cakes and Christmas crackers to put in the food parcels. We anticipate over 100 families will be supported through the scheme. It is hard to imagine that a town like Ilkley has that many families who need help, but these are the challenging times people find themselves in and its wonderful so many people in Ilkley can provide help.

"If you would like to make a Christmas cake or Christmas crackers or can provide food for the Christmas parcels, then do email

"If you can donate some money to help with the meal vouchers then please do so here just put in the message box 'Free School Meals'.

"You will find updates on Ilkley Chat or on the Ilkley Great Get Together Facebook Page.

"The organising team are Ilkley Great Get Together, The Ilkley Schools and PTAs, The Ilkley Foodbank, The Churches, La Stazione, with the support of Ilkley Town Council and the Covid Response group."