The recent government announcement of 2 million pounds to pilot and measure the impact of local projects during holidays for those entitled to free school meals marks a real step forward in our campaign to end childhood hunger. It is in no small part because of the campaigning of End Hunger UK and our partners. End Hunger UK Campaign Manager Josh Fenton-Glynn writes about the latest news.
Frank Field MP was supported by End Hunger UK when he presented a bill on holiday food provision at the start of January. The bill called for the government to make money available for every local authority to fund provision of holiday food and activities to children on low incomes. Currently children on low incomes are coming back from school holidays in a worse state, developmentally and educationally, than when they left.
End Hunger UK were instrumental in putting together a letter to the Telegraph on the issue and our supporters wrote over 900 letters to MPs from all parties asking for their support for the bill. This meant when it was presented in parliament, over 100 MPs from all parties supported it.
The bill wasn’t voted on because the government front bench didn’t support it. However, in response to the bill they agreed to hold pilots throughout England. They have now made good on that promise with this announcement. End Hunger UK welcomes the announcement and welcomes the government accepting responsibility for childhood nutrition; we also welcome the steps that will be taken to monitor the impact.
The government has taken seriously expert advice that all holiday provision must involve activity not just food, which will also go a long way to solving the economic divide in education over the holidays. As a campaign we are going to keep up pressure to make sure the government acts on the result of this study and rolls out provision nationally.