A NORTH Belfast secondary school is offering free hot meals for all pupils during December to relieve pressure on families this Christmas.

From Monday, November 29 to Tuesday, December 21, Hazelwood Integrated College will offer free hot meals to all pupils. It is the second year in a row that the scheme has been rolled out.

Máire Thompson, Principal of Hazelwood Integrated College, said she understood the challenges parents face in the run-up to Christmas.

“Like many other schools we don’t have extra money but any spare capacity we have we want to help our pupils and our parents,” she explained.

“On the run-up to Christmas, when the pace of life just gets so much faster, we thought it was a great opportunity to help our parents.

“We have some families with up to four children at the school which when you add it all up could cost as much as £70 a week on school meals and we understand the challenges that brings.

“We hope this gesture goes some way to making family life more manageable at this busy time of year.

“We remain committed to doing our very best to provide our students with the best possible care and education as we can.

“We want to give parents a break and provide hot meals for the pupils and after receiving some funding from Deloitte, we are able to make this possible for the second year in a row.

“We are very grateful to our partner, Deloitte for their kind donation.”

Pupils are also encouraged to bring in their re-usable water bottles so they can be refilled in school.