Footballer Marcus Rashford who was recently awarded an MBE for services to vulnerable children, has launched an online petition calling on the government to end child food poverty. By implementing three recommendations from the National Food Strategy to expand access to, Free School Meals to 1.5 million more young people from struggling families, provide meals and activities during holidays to stop holiday hunger and to increase the value of and expand the Healthy Start scheme.
He has appealed to the public to back his food poverty campaign, saying that showing compassion and empathy towards the poorest children in society is part of “what it means to be British”. Rashford’s latest initiative is likely to increase pressure on the government to do more for struggling families, who find themselves in hardship and facing food insecurity as result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Last Thursday the Welsh government announced it would guarantee free school meal provision, for all school holidays up to and including Easter 2021 at a cost of £11m, in the hope this would provide some reassurance for families in these uncertain times. New analysis from The Food Foundation suggests that nearly one in five UK children aged eight to 15 years, experienced food insecurity during the summer holidays. These statistics show how important immediate action from the government to extend the school holiday food voucher scheme is, over the upcoming october half-term and onwards.
For more information regarding free school meals, healthy start and access to food please visit https://www.schoolwellbeing.co.uk/pages/free-school-meals-healthy-start-and-access-to-food.