STUDENTS from a school in County Durham have been helping volunteers deliver supply parcels to support families during the coronavirus outbreak.

Year 11 and final-year A-level students from Durham Sixth Form College were recruited by Weardale Area Action Partnership (AAP) to help with their project, ‘It’s in the Bag’, which support families with children who attend Weardale schools.

The students, who all live in Weardale but attend the sixth form college, have been helping to prepare the support parcels and deliver them to families who self-nominate for the project.

The bags contain cupboard essentials, fresh fruit, vegetables, and salad, and are delivered to families’ doors, while observing social distancing, on a fortnightly basis.

The Northern Echo:

The first delivery through ‘It’s in the Bag’ saw 83 families receive support parcels, benefitting 166 children.

Over 150 bags of seasonal fruit, veg and salad, and over 100 bags of cupboard essentials were delivered throughout Weardale.

The project was set up in response to concerns from parents who were feeling the pressure from an increase in weekly shopping bills due to children being at home following school closures.

The Northern Echo:

With some families operating under the government’s furlough scheme, and some children not returning to school until September, parents expressed their worries over the additional pressures on their family’s health or wellbeing.

‘It’s in The Bag’ has also been working with Horsley Hall, Weardale Community Hub, Crook Salvation Army, Harehope Quarry and Weardale Food Bank to ensure the contents of the bags offer a variety of well-balanced meals that make sure children receive their “Five A Day”and are delivered around Weardale.

One recipient of the project, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Thank you all so very much for the food delivery, it was way beyond my expectations. I am so very grateful to have your support. I accepted the amazing bags and took them into my kitchen where I cried. What you are all doing is truly amazing. Thank you.”

The Northern Echo:

Durham County Councillor for Weardale, Anita Savory OBE, said: “As we are living through very challenging times families are experiencing, and are having to adapt to, many changes.

"Many families’ circumstances have changed with children being at home due to schools being closed, and extra pressure has been put on their budgets to stretch further to feed hungry appetites.

“The It’s in the Bag project will be a great asset to help bridge the gap. The team from the Weardale Action Partnership, volunteers, and the students from Durham Sixth Form College have all put a tremendous amount of time, effort and research into this project and we are really proud of their achievements. "It’s in The Bag is something that will mean so much to so many.”