Park End Primary School steps up for the community during coronavirus outbreak

9 April 2020

Park End Primary School is a school for children aged 2 to 11 in Park End, Middlesborough, North Yorkshire. The school have been using FareShare’s food for the last 12 months to supply a student-run community shop. The shop allows parents to buy essential supplies for their families and gives the students, known as the ‘Eco-Squad’, the opportunity to learn about food waste and the practicalities of running a community service.

Park End usually receives a weekly boxed delivery of food on a Thursday, which is shared with pupil’s families through a shop set up in the school on Friday afternoons. For a nominal donation parents and children are welcome into the shop to make a selection from the stock.

Park End head teacher Julia Rodwell said: “We love FareShare. There is a real “buzz” when the FareShare delivery is received, with everyone excited to see what is in the boxes.”

The Eco-Squad love getting involved in setting up the shop and the role of helping to set up and run the shop is earned by good participation in school during the week leading up to each Friday opening. It’s also a great way to connect with “harder to reach” families, who might not otherwise engage with the school and builds relationships with these parents that draw them into the wider life and community of the school.

It introduces the children to issues about the use of food and the fact that this food is saved from waste also makes it easier to distribute. People who need it can take it in the knowledge that they also do a social good by preventing it from going to waste and profits from the shop are reinvested in the school. This has even meant all students can be supplied with PE kits.

Adjusting to the Covid-19 outbreak

The school is currently closed to most students to prevent the spread of Covid-19, although they are still open to those whose parents are in essential working roles. The shop has had to close because it can’t be set up or run with social distancing in place so the food from the weekly delivery is being divided into consignments for each regular user of the shop and delivered to them at home, often alongside their lunch.

Park End’s Early Years Governor and coordinator of the Park End student shop, Jackie Love, said: “This is a very important way to continue to support people and maintain connection with them during this crisis and profits from the shop through the year mean this service can be provided to families for free.”

Park End continues to support families during the closure providing lunches to families that are self-isolating and to pupils entitled to free school meals. There has been a huge effort from teachers who make up packed lunches (generally consisting of fresh fruit and vegetables, cereal, bread and biscuits) before they are delivered to the homes of pupil’s whose families need support.