Eateries and clubs in North Devon are lending their support during half-term with free children’s meals for those in need.

Swiss Cottage Cafe in Ilfracombe. Picture: GoogleSwiss Cottage Cafe in Ilfracombe. Picture: Google

Belluno in Bideford, Swiss Cottage Cafe in Ilfracombe, Torrington Rugby Club and Bull and Bear in Barnstaple are among those offering help in the community during the school holidays.

Their generosity has even been recognised by Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford MBE, who is calling for an end to child food poverty, urging the Government to expand access to free school meals and provide meals during the holidays to stop holiday hunger.

Italian restaurant Belluno said it would be offering a complimentary lunchtime takeaway service for children who would otherwise not be able to afford a meal.

In a post on Facebook which has been shared more than 1,600 times, the restaurant said it would provide bolognaise or tomato pasta and a chocolate mousse for children in need.

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford, who has warned MPs not to turn a blind eye to vulnerable families. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA WireManchester United's Marcus Rashford, who has warned MPs not to turn a blind eye to vulnerable families. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

The post said: “With half term next week we know there will be many kids who normally rely on a hot school meal going hungry.

“We are expecting to be very busy and there may be occasions where we run out. If that is the case, you will be top of the list for the following day, or we may be able to offer an alternative.

“We will be cooking for free on an honesty basis, so please, this is solely for children who would otherwise not be able to afford a meal.

“We know it’s not much but we just wanted to do our little bit for the community.”

Swiss Cottage Cafe and Torrington Rugby Club are both offering a prepared packed lunch consisting of a ham or cheese sandwich, a packet of crisps and a piece of fruit.

Both said the meals were available with complete discretion.

Bull and Bear meanwhile is offering a free grilled cheese sandwich and mug of tomato soup for any children who would usually receive a free school meal.

The efforts of Belluno and Swiss Cottage Cafe have been recognised by Rashford, who shared their social media posts to his 3.5million Twitter followers.

Rashford said: “Blown away by news of local businesses stepping up to fill the voucher scheme deficit during the October half term. Selflessness, kindness, togetherness, this is the England I know.”

Throughout Friday (October 23), many other establishments in North Devon have committed to providing for children who would usually receive free school meals.

They include:

The Fox Inn, Fremington

The Wayfarer Inn, Instow

The Old Barn, Bickington

The Thatched Inn, Abbotsham

Rolle Quay Inn, Barnstaple

South Street Foodbank, Braunton

Beach Buddies Childcare, Braunton

Georgeham Stores

Fox and Goose, Parracombe

Tea by the Taw, Barnstaple

Quay Cafe, Braunton

Puffing Billy Trading Co, Torrington

El Toro Loco, Bideford

Charlie Friday’s Coffee Shop, Lynton

Binge Box, Braunton/Barnstaple