School in Frome opens for Christmas Day meal

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Christmas dinnerImage source, PA
Image caption,
About 140 people will enjoy a three course Christmas dinner in Frome thanks to local volunteers

A primary school in Somerset is joining Frome FC to offer free Christmas dinners to about 140 people who are short of cash or lonely.

For the past eight years the club has served meals but this year "demand outstripped supply".

Head teacher Rupert Kaye said Christ Church CofE First School would provide 30 meals for the first time.

The Big Christmas Get-Together provides food, transport, gifts and entertainment for the attendees.

The cost of the event is covered by donations and is run by volunteers.

Christ Church School is based in one of the most deprived neighbourhoods in Somerset and the number of pupils receiving free school meals has risen from 40% to 51% in just 18 months, Mr Kaye said.

In a national survey, half of teachers said students in their school would go hungry this Christmas and 46% said "holiday hunger" had worsened since 2015, according to the National Education Union (NEU).

Kevin Courtney, joint general-secretary of the NEU, said: "Many children this Christmas will be left with no support or food.

"Schools will be sending children home with food parcels and some will be opening on Christmas Day."

"The root causes of poverty must be addressed," he added.

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