On 22 April, Wales became the first nation in the UK to guarantee funding for children to receive free school meals throughout the summer holidays (read more here). Similar funding is yet to be confirmed in England.
As a result, many families who ought to be accessing a substitute free school meal offer risk facing a prolonged period of food uncertainty and hunger. With new research from the Food Foundation indicating that 5.1 million households with children experienced some form of hunger or food insecurity during the first four weeks of lockdown, we are calling on The Government to boost their funding for the rapidly approaching summer holidays.
We have co-signed a letter to the Department of Education (DfE), asking for additional funding to be made available to expand free school meal provision to cover all holiday periods across the whole of England until the end of August. The funding should cover all school-age children eligible for benefits-related free school meals, plus all those families currently applying for Universal Credit or other income support programmes, and all children with no recourse to public funds.
On 24 March, we wrote to DfE calling for funding to be extended into the Easter holidays as a matter of urgency. The Government responded with the funding extended as called for, and we hope our most recent letter with the collective call of 23 organisations will have a similar, positive impact.
The letter was coordinated by the Children’s Food Campaign and co-signatories include School Food Matters, The Food Foundation, Biteback 2030 and Sustain.
Read the letter in full here.