Two out of three ain't bad
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.
We cannot underestimate the contribution of Marcus Rashford and the power of bringing the voices of families and children to government. Over 30 charities, led by the Food Foundation, formed a consortium to provide the evidence needed to persuade government to do the right thing but without the powerful testimony of a young man who had himself experienced the misery of hunger, this battle would have been hard to win.
So let's look at what has been achieved:
- £170m Covid Winter Grant Scheme to support children, families and the most vulnerable over winter
- Holiday Activities and Food programme to be expanded, covering Easter, Summer and Christmas in 2021
- Healthy Start payments set to rise from £3.10 to £4.25 a week from April 2021
- Suite of measures represents long-term plan to help tackle poor health, hunger and education.
We're pleased that Government will be using local authorities to distribute the Covid Winter Grant Scheme in line with our letter to Department for Education and we will be digging deep into the guidelines to make sure that these new measures convert into healthy, nutritious food for families.
But we must remember that our third ask - for an extension to eligibilty for free school meals - has yet to be secured. Without this extension 1.7 million children who live in low income households may not have the chance to benefit from these new measures so there's still work to be done.
For now, we are delighted that Government is showing that it takes the issue of child food insecurity seriously and this is a huge step forward. More information in the Government's press release here.
In other news ...
The government has released details of its Covid Winter Grant Scheme, showing how the £170 million scheme will be administered.
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.
With 30 campaign partners we've sent another letter to the Department for Education urging them to step up and not leave charities, restaurants and concerned citizens to fill the hunger gap this Christmas.