Staff at a primary school have put their cooking skills to good use to raise money for the homeless.

Mountford Manor Primary School on Bothwell Road raised £225 for the charity Big Breakfast Plus to buy Greggs vouchers to distribute to rough sleepers on our streets.

Swindon Night Shelter provided families at the school with food boxes during lockdown so staff decided to raise money to say thank you.

Principal Lee Edmunds said: “We were so grateful for everything the Night Shelter did helping our families, so staff decided we would like to give something back.”

The Big Breakfast Club, which shares The Haven with Swindon Night Shelter, suspended its services due to the coronavirus pandemic. It now provides meal vouchers to those on the streets.

Mr Edmunds added: “We thought this would be a nice way of supporting them to continue to provide breakfasts but in a different way. It seemed like an initiative that would be really beneficial to the town.”

Through a referral system from the school, Swindon Night Shelter supplied 20 families with food parcels between March and July.

“They made such a massive difference to some of our families,” said Mr Edmunds, who has 212 pupils at his school between the ages of two and 11. “They were really, really grateful.”

“When lockdown first happened it was a very tricky time for some of our families. They were having the children at home for much longer which had implications in terms of having enough food at home and sometimes there’s quite a few children at home.

“We were able to still give out the free school meal vouchers, but even with that some of our families were still struggling.

“And for children who are still in nursery, those families weren’t eligible for the vouchers. So they were given some support with food parcels,” Mr Edmunds said.

Fifteen members of staff baked cakes for the rest of the team over a week from October 30. They raised enough for 45 Greggs vouchers.

Mr Edmunds added: “I didn’t make any cakes myself because I didn’t want to do that to anybody as I don’t think they would be very nice. But I took advantage of the cakes coming in. I certainly helped, by eating the cakes!”

Big Breakfast Plus trustee Sarah Smith was presented with the donation. She said: “It’s been a pleasure being at Mountford Manor school and meeting some of the staff involved in this great initiative.

“It’s incredibly important we all continue to look out for each other, particularly now during the pandemic. Despite the great work of the borough council and their partner agencies with the Everyone In campaign at the beginning of lockdown and schemes to subsequently house rough sleepers in their own accommodation, there is concern nationally that homelessness and food poverty will rise due to many factors including the end of furlough, job losses, relationship breakdowns and evictions.

“Which is why it’s vitally important Big Breakfast Plus continues to fund raise, raise awareness in our schools and communities and provide that very important hot breakfast every day to those who are unable to cook, buy or provide it themselves.

Mr Edmunds added: “It’s really important that we all look after each other during these difficult times. This pandemic is a worldwide problem but can only be tackled from a local point of view, making sure people have access to what they need.”

To donate to Big Breakfast Plus’ initiative visit