BUSINESSES across Leigh and the surrounding areas have stepped up to offer free meals for children during the half-term holidays.

The effort has been made after the defeat of a motion calling for free school meals during holidays until Easter 2021 on the back of Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford's campaign in the House of Commons last week.

Cafes, chip shops and pubs have been among those joining in the efforts to provide meals.

Meanwhile, the council has also offered thousands of children free school meals during the holiday.

Businesses offering meals in Leigh to help families in need have included Green Lane chippy, Uncle Ste's Diner, community cafe The Bridge at Leigh and 4 Ways Cafe and Sandwich bar, among many others.

Owner of 4 Ways, on Westleigh Lane, Debbie Anderton said she wanted to help with the effort.

"I just feel for everybody really with what's going on, we are just trying to help people," said Debbie.

"We have had lots of donations from people, it has been brilliant.

"People are all really grateful for what we are doing.

"It's heartbreaking."

Debbie, 40, who owns the business along with partner Angela Morgan mum Josie Snape, says they have also received donations from Morrisons shop in Leigh to help with the effort.

"I have done little bags for the children to take home," she added.

"On Monday to Friday there is a cold meal and on Tuesday we have done a hot meal.

"We're doing really well with it and the messages and support are fantastic.

"If anyone is struggling and need any help, we are here to help. It's awful if you can;t feed your kids, I hope I am never in that predicament but there are good people willing to help.

"We are here for anybody who needs help."