Chartwells charity partner ‘speaking’ to firm over criticism of free school meal parcels 

13 Jan 2021 News

The Dame Kelly Holmes Trust is speaking to its corporate partner Chartwells UK, which has been criticised over the quality of food parcels. 

Earlier this week parents shared photos of food parcels that had been sent in place of free school meals while schools are closed, suggesting that they could have bought more food had they been given money or vouchers. 

The parcels were widely criticised by poverty campaigners, including Marcus Rashford, and the government has promised to relaunch the voucher scheme for parents. 

Responding to one of the widely shared images, Chartwells has apologised for having “fallen short in this instance”, and said it would refund schools where parcels had not met the expected standards. 

In a statement it said: “Our ten-day hampers typically include a wide variety of nutritious food items to support the provisions of lunches for children.” 

‘We choose our partners very carefully’ 

Last year Chartwells had partnered with the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust. 

The charity said in a statement this week: “Since we were made aware of the story on 11 January, we have already started speaking to Chartwells to understand more about the situation and what steps they are taking to resolve any issues there may be. We are keeping our president, Dame Kelly Holmes fully informed at all times.” 

Through the partnership, which began in early 2020, Chartwells’ nutrition team has helped the charity with resources for the young people involved in its programmes.

The Dame Kelly Holmes Trust added: “We choose our partners very carefully at the Trust and if we ever felt that one of them didn’t meet the standards we would expect, then we wouldn’t hesitate to end that partnership.” 

Company raised over £1,000 for the charity 

The partnership was launched by Chartwells taking part in the 2.6 Challenge to raise money for the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust. 

Staff raised over £1,000 by writing out two point six using food. 

Overall, the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust raised £10,000 through the 2.6 Challenge. 

For more news, interviews, opinion and analysis about charities and the voluntary sector, sign up to receive the Civil Society News daily bulletin here.