Former Castleford Tigers and Wakefield Trinity player Craig Huby offers free school lunches after being inspired by Manchester United's Marcus Rashford

FORMER Castleford Tigers, Huddersfield Giants and Wakefield Trinity player, and now cafe owner, Craig Huby, is providing free packed lunches to children in need this half-term.

HELPING OUT: Craig Huby outside his cafe, Plan Bee, in Castleford.
HELPING OUT: Craig Huby outside his cafe, Plan Bee, in Castleford.

The former rugby league player recently opened Plan Bee in Castleford and is stepping up to provide the free meals after 322 Conservative MPs voted against extending free school meals over the half-term holidays.

Inspired by Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford, Huby has joined in a nationwide effort to provide food for those in need of help and admits it was a "pretty easy" decision to provide the lunches free of charge.

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Each lunch will contain a sandwich, a piece of fruit, a drink, a bag of crisps and a small chocolate bar and can be collected from Plan Bee in Castleford town centre or at JB Motors in Glasshoughton.

EX-PLAYER:Craig Huby made over 250 professional appearances with Wakefield Trinity, Huddersfield Giants and Castleford Tigers.

"Marcus Rashford has had a well-documented campaign, highlighting his struggles as a kid and my Mrs, Victoria, does a lot of work in Knottingley and takes a lot of leftover food to the local foodbank," said Huby.

"It was a pretty easy decision to get involved and help the vulnerable kids around here.

"It is a real shame the Government is not prepared to do that but it shows the amount of local companies, especially in Castleford, that have put their hands up to donate breakfast or dinner.

"It just shows the community has come together to support the children, who are the future of Castleford. We want to help the kids around here. We know what it is like to ask for help and it is not a bad thing to ask for help.

"There is always someone willing to help you. It is great to see so many cafes nationwide stepping in and doing it."

There will not be a limit on the packed lunches handed out and no identification will be requested for anyone who needs assistance.

Huby insists that it is ok to ask for help and is more than willing to provide a hand to anyone who needs it.

He added: "It is not about us, we just want to help. If it was my children, I would appreciate anyone offering to help them.

"It is not just for the children who are on free school meals, we won't be asking for any form of ID, it is for anyone who needs the help. Even if it is kids who are feeling a bit hungry, we are willing to help.

"We have got plenty of stuff in, so it is literally anybody who needs them. We have a few that are pre-made lunches and we have come together with JB Motors to have another collection point there.

"You don't just have to come to the cafe, the JB Motors pick-up point is a more discreet collection if that is what you want to do.

"It is ok to ask for help. From my personal situation, I have always found it hard to ask for help but in the last 18 months, after retiring, I have asked for help.

"It is ok to ask for that little bit of help and there are genuine people out there who are willing to help you."

To request a free lunch contact Plan Bee on 07872849328 or reach out to Huby via his Twitter account which can be found via his handle, @Cthuby10.