COUNTY Hall bosses have announced plans to provide families-in-need with additional support throughout the school holiday, to ensure no child goes hungry.

On Wednesday evening, a motion to extend the free school meals scheme until Easter 2021 was defeated by a majority of 61 after 322 MPs voted against it.

Several Essex politicians dismissed the proposal, including Clacton's Giles Watling, Colchester's Will Quince, and Braintree's James Cleverly.

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford MBE had spearheaded the campaign, arguing that struggling children also need access to food when not at school.

Since the vote, hundreds of businesses, organisations, and communities have rallied around the England international footballer.

Essex County Council has also now pledged its support to families and children for this half term, offering essential food and supplies to those who need it.

Brentwood Live:

Working with the Active Essex Foundation to extend its Holiday Hunger programme, more than 1,000 children will be provided with free activities and food.

This scheme is an extension to the summer holidays activity programme which provided free childcare and a free meal for working families and saw 3,548 children take part.

The programme links with schools, foodbanks, local churches, local authorities and the Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service, to identify families who should benefit.

Essex County Council is also launching the Half Term Emergency Fund, which is a new scheme for foodbanks and other organisations which provides food to communities.

Foodbanks will be able to apply for a grant up to £2,500 to help make sure they have enough supplies to cover the half term holiday.

Councillor Louise McKinlay, cabinet member for children and families, said: “We are committed to making sure that no child in Essex goes hungry.

"I want to reach out to families to reassure them that there is support available with two key schemes for this half term.

“First, our Holiday Hunger programme is starting from Monday.

"It will benefit our children and their families who are most in need in our county, providing them with access to a hot meal, additional support as well as free activities.

“Second, we are also offering funding to foodbanks and other organisations that are a lifeline to many, especially during school holidays.

"These two areas of support, whilst focused on half term are part of the continuing offer for families and I would like to reassure everyone that we are working to respond to the very real challenges faced by many Essex families at this time.”

To find out more information about the Half Term Emergency fund visit