IslingtonTribune

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Islington Council offers half-term ‘free school meals’ to thousands of children

Food vouchers available for more than 8,500 children available for half-term break

23 October, 2020 — By Calum Fraser

Council Leader Richard Watts 

ISLINGTON Council this evening (Friday) has announced plans to help feed children over next week’s half-term break by sending out food vouchers.

This week the government voted down a motion, inspired by the campaigning efforts of footballer Marcus Rashford, to extend the free school meals service over the coming holidays until Easter 2021.

A series of local authorities and organisations across the country have said they will now fund the service. Free school meals were continued while schools were shut during the summer months after Mr Rashford’s high profile campaign helped reveal the extent of food poverty.

In Islington, foodbanks and volunteer-run aid programmes have seen increasing demand for help amid the coronavirus crisis.

The council is launching a voucher scheme to help the parents of more than 8,500 children who are eligible for statutory free school meals.

The town halls education chief Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz said: “As the Government has decided not to support Marcus Rashford’s campaign to feed children in need, we’re setting up our own scheme to ensure that no child goes hungry this half term.”

Council leaders Cllr Richard Watts said: “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.”

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 email weareislington@islington.gov.uk

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