National Food Strategy Part One
The National Food Strategy Part One is here and it contains some exciting recommendations to help children access healthy food.
Our friend Henry Dimbleby has recommended bold action to support our most disadvantaged children. He says: "Eating well in childhood is the very foundation stone of equality of opportunity ... A Government that is serious about “levelling up” must ensure that all children get the nutrition they need."
We agree, which is why we wholeheartedly support these four recommendations:
- Expand eligibility for free school meals to include every child (up to the age of 16) from a household in receipt of Universal Credit. This would see an additional 1.5 million, 7-16 year olds, receiving a free school meal, taking the total number of children to 2.6 million.
- Extend the Holiday Activity and Food Programme to all areas in England, so that summer holiday support is available to all children in receipt of free school meals. This would mean an additional 1.1 million children will participate in the programme.
- Increase the value of Healthy Start vouchers to £4.25 per week, and expand the scheme to every pregnant woman and to all households with children under 4 where a parent or guardian is in receipt of Universal Credit. An additional 290,000 pregnant women and children under the age of 4 would benefit, taking the total number of beneficiaries to 540,000.
- Extend the work of the Food to the Vulnerable Ministerial Task Force for a further 12 months up until July 2021 to collect, assess and monitor data on the number of people suffering from food insecurity at any time, and agree cross-departmental actions, where necessary, to support those who cannot access or afford food.
We also welcome the news that the CEOs of the Co-op and Waitrose have agreed to supplement Healthy Start vouchers with additional free fruit and vegetables.
What a great week it's been for children's health! We now need to support the National Food Strategy team to get these bold recommendations over the line. Nice work Henry!
In other news ...
Smash is a new app providing discounts for young people to promote healthy eating decisions.
Thanks to a successful legal challenge over the eligibility criteria for Healthy Start vouchers, some of the poorest children from migrant families have become entitled.