DORSET Council says it is working with local voluntary organisations to ensure no children go hungry during the half-term break.

It is also planning to make arrangements for the Christmas and New Year holiday.

Said Cllr Andrew Parry, Portfolio Holder for Children, Education, Skills and Early Help: "No child should go hungry, and Dorset Council has arrangements in place to help provide food for struggling families. Any family struggling at this time can either contact us directly on 01305 221000 or Dorset Citizen's Advice on Freephone 0800 144 8848. We will ensure they get the help they need.”

The Council says it has been working with local volunteers, food banks and community groups throughout the COVID pandemic to ensure a network of support is in place for vulnerable people.

“We are hugely grateful to these volunteers, groups and local businesses for the support they provide within communities,” said Cllr Parry.

“Where access to food for struggling families is not available in a particular area, we are funding emergency food parcels through the Volunteer Centre Dorset. The parcels will be delivered within 24 hours of receiving the request, although they are normally sent out the same day.”

“We know many people are facing very challenging circumstances right now. If you need support, whether it’s food, or advice about money, mental health, or relationships, you are not alone – there is a range of help and support available.  The specialist advisers at Citizens Advice can help with immediate problems and also help plan for the longer term. Please pick up the phone and speak to someone now. Call Citizens Advice on Freephone 0800 144 8848 or visit

“We are currently making arrangements for the Christmas holidays for children who receive free school meals."

In Dorchester a charity which provided food for hard-pressed families during the school summer holidays is to extend the service to the Christmas break this year.

During the summer the newly established charity, Dorchester Family Support, working from Hardye's school, provided almost 190 families with canned goods, fresh fruit and veg’ along with fresh meat to enable all the family to have one good meal a day.

Most of the families are from Dorchester itself, or surrounding villages.

Said one of the trustees, Kath Joslin: “Although we have no plans for the half-term, we will be putting together Christmas hampers for our families the week before Christmas again at Hardye's school.

“All the money for this enterprise comes from the local community. We are grateful to Dorchester Poverty Action, Dorchester Casterbridge Rotary, Poundbury Residents Association, the Town Council and all the churches in the town who have provided us with the financial wherewithal to do this. Hardye's School in particular has been extremely supportive of this work. Many individuals have also supported us along with Councillor Janet Hewitt who has helped with sourcing the monies needed for this work along with practical help and support.”

She says that the service was hoping to expand this year but the pandemic has put paid to that for the time being.