Footballer Marcus Rashford’s petition to tackle child food poverty has hit 1 million signatures.
The Manchester United star’s mission to reduce child food poverty has gripped the nation and caused significant pressure to Westminster who have opposed funding his campaign.
The petition calls on the Government to commit funding to the 3 recommendations in the National Food Strategy. Petition link
The Parliamentary Petitions office confirmed that it is only the fifth petition to have reached 1 million signatures on the website and it is the first time since the last general election that the Government have been presented with a petition reaching 1 million.
Furthermore, this week over 1000 have registered on the www.kidsmealsmap.co.uk designed to support families and show the businesses, local authorities and community organisations who are providing free meals to vulnerable children over the October half term.
The map, built by communications agency PLMR is a new national resource and food organisations are being asked to visit the website and register details of what they are offering in order that vulnerable children and families can find out what is happening in their local area.
Data from the Food Foundation revealed that 1.4 million children (18% of 8-17 year olds) reported experiences of food insecurity over the summer holidays. Experiences of food insecurity included:
- Having to eat less and make food last longer because of lack of money to buy more (6%)
- Parents not eating because there wasn’t enough food at home (5%)
- Children being hungry but not eating to avoid using up food at home (4%)
- Children being hungry but not eating because of lack of food at home (4%)
- Not eating a proper meal due to lack of money for food (4%)
- Eating at a friend’s house because there wasn’t enough food at home (3%).
The Food Foundation is part of footballer Marcus Rashford’s Child Food Poverty Task Force, and along with 20 charities and key names in the food industry is calling on Government to allocate sufficient budget to the three National Food Strategy recommendations, as part of an urgent recovery package for vulnerable families and their children this Autumn.
- Eligibility for Free School Meal (FSM) to be expanded to include every child (up to the age of 16) from a household where the parent or guardian is in receipt of Universal Credit (or equivalent benefits)
- Extend the Holiday Activity and Food Programme (HAF) to all areas in England, so that summer holiday support is available to all children in receipt of Free School Meals.
- Increase the value of Healthy Start vouchers to £4.25 per week and expand the scheme to every pregnant woman and to all households with children under 4 where a parent or guardian is in receipt of Universal Credit or equivalent benefits.