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Feed the Future - Food for Life supports Free School Meal extension

Children eating school lunch

Feed the Future

Food for Life supports fresh calls for Free School Meal extension  

Today (11th October) Food for Life joins a coalition of organisations and charities calling on the government to extend Free School Meals (FSM) to all children in England from households on Universal Credit.

Currently, a staggering 800,000 children in England are living in poverty but don't qualify for Free School Meals. 

As energy costs rise and the cost-of-living crisis stretches family budgets to breaking point it is vital that the government takes action to ensure these children receive a hot, healthy school meal. 

Watch BiteBack 2030's video here to hear about the impact Free School Meals, or lack of, has on children and young people. 

The coalition group leading this campaign includes Sustain and represents the School Food Review Working Group – both of which Food for Life is part of. Jamie Oliver, BiteBack 2030, Food Foundation and Chefs in Schools also form part of the group.

Join the campaign

Anyone can join the campaign and support the call for Free School Meal extension by: 

Supporting caterers who are struggling 

Expanding eligibility for Free School Meals would provide a nutritional safety net for the most vulnerable, while also providing caterers with economies of scale that might help them to manage cost pressures. But more support from government might be needed. 

School cooks and caterers are stretched and struggling to make ends meet with the price of ingredients skyrocketing, shortages of ingredients and staffing issues due to Covid-19. 

According to a recent LACA survey, over 90% of caterers surveyed are experiencing food shortages and 74% say they are suffering with a lack of vacant job role applicants. 

Small schools face distinct challenges and would need support with expanded Free School Meal eligibility. In additional to expanding eligibility, government should therefore commit to a wholesale review of school food policy, ensuring that meals are properly funded, and cooks and caterers supported to deliver.

We’re calling on the government to: 

  1. Expand eligibility for Free School Meals. This expansion should initially be to all children from families in receipt of universal credit, with further expansion to a universal approach to follow. 
  2. Commit to a wholesale review of school food policy, supporting cooks and caterers. 

If you're a school or caterer then we need you 

Your current experience of school meals and the need for additional funding is powerful and we would love to hear from you and discuss how we can add your views and your voice to our own.

Please get in touch.