Big Smoke Brew Co, the six strong pub operator and brewer, is backing footballer Marcus Rashford’s free school meals campaign, offering 1000 free meals during half term.

The surrey-based craft beer business will offer the meals by order and collection from its pubs in Surbiton, Kingston, Hammersmith, Weybridge, Chichester and Wokingham.

Big Smoke is one of scores of largely independent, single-site operators, as well as local councils and catering companies, that have pledged to give away free meals over half term.

Rashford’s campaign, backed by a Labour motion to provide 1.4 million disadvantaged children in England with £15 a week in food vouchers during holidays until Easter 2021, was voted down in the House of Commons this week.

But reaction to the defeat has led to an outpouring of donations, despite restaurants suffering their own financial hardships.

Rashford wrote on Twitter: “Blown away by news of local businesses stepping up to fill the voucher scheme deficit during the October half term. Selflessness, kindness, togetherness, this is the England I know. Add #ENDCHILDFOODPOVERTY to your tweets so I can track them. I will share as many as I can.”

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