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Islington Council backs Marcus Rashford campaign after government votes against free school meal holiday extension

PUBLISHED: 16:11 23 October 2020

Islington Town Hall.Picture:Ken Mears

Islington Town Hall.Picture:Ken Mears

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Islington Council is supporting footballer Marcus Rashford’s campaign to ensure no child goes hungry this half-term, following the government’s failure to fund free school meal vouchers during the holiday,

The Manchester United striker’s End Child Food Poverty campaign called for an extension to free school meals - but a motion to provide 1.4 million disadvantaged children in England with £15-a-week food vouchers during school holidays throughout the coronavirus pandemic until Easter 2021 was voted down in Parliament this week.

Families of the 8,500 pupils in Islington who are eligible for free school meals will instead now be able to call a council helpline to access vouchers.

Leader of the council, Cllr Richard Watts, said: “It’s very disappointing that the government has not supported the national proposal to feed hungry children over the school holidays.

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“This is about doing the right thing for our children and young people. We know many local families are already facing extreme hardship as a result of the pandemic, and we are determined to give them the support they need.

“Islington Council will not let children go hungry; we are stepping in to plug the gap that’s been left by this failure of national action. Please get in touch with our We Are Islington service if you or someone you know is worried about accessing food over the school holidays.”

The council’s families chief, Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz added: “We recognise that the financial pressure families are currently facing is huge – there will be additional food costs faced by families over the half term break, and we refuse to stand by and let them struggle alone.

Supermarket vouchers will be issued by schools to cover the half term period.

Families in immediate need of financial help to pay for meals can contact the We Are Islington helpline on 020 7527 8222 (or minicom on 020 7527 1900) or email weareislington@islington.gov.uk.


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