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Chefs in Schools welcomes the Government’s decision to continue to fund free school meals this summer but, as our Chief Executive Naomi Duncan says, the fight is not over.  

Thank you to everyone who shared, supported and shouted about the #schoolmeals4summer campaign. For the last three months, we’ve been campaigning with other leading food charities, to make sure funding is provided over the school holidays to feed those children who need it the most.

These past few weeks, premier league footballers, MPs, food organisations, teachers, young campaigners and charities have urged the Government to keep funding free school meals during the coming summer holidays. This issue nearly made it to court, with Sustain and the Good Law Project launching legal action against the Government to ensure children would be fed.

The good news is, the Government listened and announced that free school meals funding would be available this summer holiday. This will make a difference to the lives of at least 1.3 million children. It means they won’t have to worry about where their lunch is coming from, it means that young carers won’t have to worry about how they will afford food for their younger siblings.

But this is not the end. We can’t lose our focus on nutrition, which is more vital than ever to public health. We want to ensure all children are getting food that is both delicious and good for them. We want this fund to be available to schools to determine the best solution for their communities. Early research from Northumbria University shows plummeting levels of fruit & veg intake during the crisis, so schools need to be able to offer food support where this would better meet the needs of children. We also need to ensure that the fund announced covers all children who are facing going without food, including those who have no recourse to public funds; the temporary extension of free school meals to these children must be made permanent. 

We also need to look to the future – to think about the holidays that come after this summer.

Food insecurity was not created by the pandemic, it has simply exacerbated the situation.

There needs to be lasting security for families, who shouldn’t have to worry going into every holiday period as to how they will feed their children. You can help bring about lasting change. There is a petition, started by Christina – one of the brilliant campaigners from Biteback2030, please sign it. If you know any teens who want to make change in our food system, encourage them to follow Christina’s lead and become a Youth Leader, they can apply at biteback2030.com

This past week particularly has shown the power of a movement to change policy. We need to continue to speak out together, to ensure no child goes hungry or without proper nutrition.

 

Thank you for reading,

 

Naomi, Chief Executive, Chefs in Schools


Our volunteers have been making and delivering free school meal hampers.

Our volunteers have been making and delivering free school meal hampers.