Free School Meals
In England 1.4 million children are eligible for free school meals. As obesity rates are higher in children from deprived backgrounds, it is even more crucial that these children have access to a decent, nutritious meal, all year round.
In May 2020, our Youth Board Co-Chair Christina launched a petition to extend provision over the holidays. Since then, we’ve had four campaign wins, with the government extending access to free school meal provision over Easter, May half-term, and finally summer, when Marcus Rashford got involved. And in November 2020, the Government announced measures to provide meals to young people on free school meals over the holidays to the end of 2021!
Almost 450,000 people signed Christina’s petition and the campaign has had an estimated media reach of 21 million, as Christina and her fellow Youth Board Members Dev and Anisah featured on BBC6 and BBC News at Ten, The Mirror, the Daily Mail, Channel 5 News, Sunday Times, London News Online, ITV London, Radio 2 Jeremy Vine and also Good Morning Britain, to name a few.
This is an incredible result, giving some much-needed certainty and helpful advance notice. For the first time, the many public and voluntary sector organisations involved in providing food support will be able to plan and prepare.
BUT it is still not quite the permanent solution Bite Back’s young campaigners have been calling for, so we urge the government to extend this vital work.