Under-fire school meals firm Chartwells offers free breakfasts & lunches as boss finally says sorry for parcels fiasco

UNDER-fire school meals firm Chartwells has offered kids free breakfasts and lunches in a bid to finally say sorry for its food parcel fiasco.

The company's boss issued an overdue apology last night after sending out sub-standard food packages to children across the UK.

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It follows an outpouring of fury after photos showing meagre food parcels sent out by the firm circulated online.

Insulting boxes included veg chopped in half and fish in bags, falling well below the bare £15 minimum kids deserve.

And Boris Johnson himself labelled the packages "a scandal" and "a disgrace".

Apologising, Robin Mills the Managing Director of Compass Group UK and Ireland which owns Chartwells, said: "The first thing I want to do, personally and on behalf of Chartwells and Compass, is to say sorry.

"The quality and quantity of the produce in the images on Twitter fell short of our usual standards."

In a bid to make up for the shortfall, the school meals boss said his company will go on to provide free breakfasts to all kids who receive a Chartwells lunch parcel from January 25 until schools open again.

Those kids will also be given "the option of lunch parcels through the February half term at no cost".

The company, who would not normally issue free meals to schools during half term, issued a fresh example of what a five-day school box will now look like for one child.

It includes milk, fruit, vegetables, tins, bread and snacks.

Food Fix

Chartwells has vowed to do the following to make up for their sub-standard food parcels…

  • Free breakfasts to all kids receiving a Chartwells lunch parcel from 25 January for the duration of school closures
  • Option of free lunch parcels during the February half term
  • No charge for schools affected by shortages in the last week
  • Colleagues in schools to sign off on batches of parcels as they leave the school
  • Free helpline for concerned schools and parents that will go live on Monday
  • One-week parcels to include more fresh produce
  • Increased quantity and quality of produce
  • Committed to make no profit on food parcels

Chartwells came under fire this week after Marcus Rashford highlighted the issue with the PM.

As a result, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said parents will be able to use the Free Schools Meals voucher scheme again from Monday and shop for their kids' lunches themselves.

Mr Williamson told a committee of MPs he had been “absolutely disgusted” by the packages adding: "From next week, the national food voucher scheme will be available to all schools."

And Boris Johnson told MPs: "It is a scandal and a disgrace that some companies are trying to get away with the provision they are offering."

During Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Johnson said: "I don't think anybody is happy with the disgraceful images that we've seen the food parcels that have been offered, they are appalling and they are an insult to families."

"I'm grateful by the way to Marcus Rashford has highlighted the issue and is doing quite an effective job in holding the Government to account for these issues.

"The company in question has rightly apologised and agreed to reimburse."

Parents will now be able to get £15-worth of vouchers to use at supermarkets or continue to use the food parcels system.

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