A RESTAURANT chain is leading the way by helping to provide15,000 freshly cooked meals that will be distributed at 10 venues across the north providing schoolchildren with one hot meal a day during this half-term.

Estábulo, which has restaurants in Darlington and Harrogate, will prepare 100 meals daily at seven of their Estábulo bar & grill locations.

The meals will be ready for collection between 4pm and 5pm from yesterday until children return to school on Tuesday (November 9).

Each takeaway box will contain chicken and vegetables, providing a hot, nutritionally-balanced meal ready for eating the same evening.

Rob Campbell, CEO of the hospitality group is taking action, following the recent rejection of a motion to extend free school meals over the school holidays by MP's.

In support of a nationwide drive championed by footballer Marcus Rashford to ensure schoolchildren do not go hungry this half-term, Mr Campbell, said: "The situation is critical and we can't wait for more debate, these families need immediate support.

"Unfortunately, the UK has one of the worst child food insecurity levels amongst the world's richest countries. Sadly, the crisis is impacting this situation and it is getting worse at an alarming rate."

The restaurant will rely on the goodwill of people to collect meals only for schoolchildren that would have qualified for vouchers and has requested safety guidelines regarding social distancing are adhered also.

Mr Campbell said: “Remaining safe is a priority. Thank you to all the families for helping us distribute the meals safely”.