A PROGRAMME that has been delivering fruit to around 8,000 primary pupils has been renewed following a great response from schools.

Delivered by St Helens Borough Council’s School Traded Services with money from the Government’s Household Support Fund (HSF), junior pupils in 54 primary schools across the borough received a variety of tasty fruits like apples, pears, clementines and satsumas – initially in the lead up to the February half-term break.

The scheme was renewed up until Easter following resoundingly positive response from school staff and pupils, and with confirmation from Government that the HSF would be extended, the scheme has now been renewed to the end of the school year.

Staff at St Mary’s Catholic Primary in Blackbrook were thrilled with the programme, saying: “The fruit has been greatly received by our junior children. A fruit station was created with artwork and tubs for the different fruits, all of which is exceptional quality.

“Children are enjoying having a healthy snack at break time or after lunch, and some of the children who don't normally bring their own fruit are eating more as a result.”

The programme supports the healthy approach of the council’s wider school meals service, which delivers a selection of main meals and desserts, and access to a fresh fruit and salad selection.

Fruit was provided by fruit and veg supplier Ralph Livesey Ltd.

Its three-weekly menu cycle helps pupils to understand the different food groups and encourages them to try different foods and cuisines from around the world to maintain a balanced diet.

Cllr Andy Bowden, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Climate Change, said: “Encouraging our children to eat more fruit and vegetables is a never-ending battle, but one we’re happy to take up through our school meals service.

“We’ve been really pleased to be able use the funding in this simple but effective way, and the great feedback from our schools has been brilliant to see.”