PRIMARY schools have been awarded funding to stop youngsters going hungry during the coronavirus crisis.

Brandon Primary School and Esh Winning Primary School are both helping to keep children fed during the current pandemic.

Mid Durham Area Action Partnership has granted £1,000 to each school to fund food projects for families in need.

Money has also been allocated from the neighbourhood budget of Durham County Councillor John Turnbull.

Judith Hodgson, headteacher at Brandon Primary School, said: “Thank you to everyone who continues to support the school to help families in need.”

The school is using the funding to boost initiatives such as providing packed lunches and food parcels to families who normally receive free school meals, and who are struggling to afford food with their children at home during lockdown.

Using additional funding from the Greggs Foundation, the school will also provide the high proportion of children who normally attend its breakfast club each morning with free breakfast packs, starting from 20 April.

The AAP’s donation and the school’s funds will be combined with funding from Believe Housing and Brandon and Byshottles Parish Council, to purchase and deliver food parcels to all families who contact the school in need.

Esh Winning Primary School is also supporting parents and carers whose finances have been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, by delivering emergency food bags containing three days’ worth of food, to help protect and support vulnerable and at-risk families.

The money supplied by Mid Durham AAP will help fund the school’s scheme which, as well as supporting its own pupils, is also now supporting families from the village’s other school, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs.

A parent support advisor is also helping families to access additional services and the school has become the temporary location of the Esh Winning Food Bank too.

Caroline Hodgson, headteacher at Esh Winning Primary School, said: “We are always looking for different ways that we can support all of our families and, even more so in these worrying and anxious times.

“It is superb and humbling that the AAP has recognised our efforts and have been able to offer a substantial amount of money, which will help us to support our families and make a difference.

“We are very grateful for this act of kindness and generosity.”

Derek Snaith, Mid-Durham AAP Coordinator, said: “For families in our area who rely on benefits or whose family members worked for local firms that closed as a result of the pandemic, there is little to no money coming into the household, and they are under immense pressure to be able to provide food. These two schools are a credit to their community. The essential support each project is providing is welcomed by families in both villages.”