Lockdowns prompt calls for FSM this half term and Christmas
School Food Matters has joined with a coalition of charities, food campaigners and health experts to call on the Government to commit urgently to funding free school meals during half-term and Christmas holidays.
In a joint letter to the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, and the minister Vicky Ford, we argue that 2020 has been far from a ‘normal year’; and with coronavirus on the rise again and lockdowns being re-instated, the financial situation is worsening for children and their families. Many will be tipped into food insecurity for the first time.
Our letter calls on the government to urgently commit to funding benefits-related free school meals during the autumn half term and Christmas holidays, including for children from households with no recourse to public funds. We recommend a new top-up grant could be distributed via local authorities (or directly to schools and academy trusts). The grants could then be allocated according to free school meal registration, with funds then converted into food hampers, supermarket vouchers or cash support payments for families during the upcoming holidays.
In July, we welcomed the Government’s change of heart on providing school meals during the holidays. With the Covid crisis deepening, we know that now is not the time to withdraw this vital support.
In other news ...
Such good news! Government has positively responded to two of our three asks from the National Food Strategy and announced nearly £400m support for families and their children during the school holidays and a boost to Healthy Start.
The SNP has committed to extending free school meals to all primary aged students if they are re-elected.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity (GSTC) has released a report examining opportunities in the school food system to prioritise nutritious food for young people.