Update (08Nov20): We welcome the government’s announcement today of providing more support for children and families this winter and during subsequent school holidays. More here.
We’ve been listening to the current debate about Free School Meals being given to children in need during holidays.
We believe no child should go hungry in the UK.
The school holidays should be a time for children to have fun, enjoy a break from school and not worry about where their next meal is coming from. However, poverty and food hunger are a sad reality that affect millions of children in the UK. One in three or 36 per cent of children in the London Borough of Wandsworth, where KLS works, are living in poverty, with many thousands going hungry during the holidays. Today, in the twenty-first century, this is totally unacceptable.
In Battersea, and as a country, we need to build stronger communities and enable people to challenge and find ways out of poverty and isolation. Extending Free School Meals for families on Universal Credit (or equivalent benefits) during this Covid-19 pandemic is one of a number of valuable measures that would provide practical and vital support for local families during the school holidays.
Another aspect of poverty is related to those children who qualify for Free School Meals – digital poverty, or digital exclusion. Children who go hungry are often from families who cannot afford a computer and connection to the internet. Compared to those from better-off homes, it means these children cannot use, or have extremely limited access to, the web to help with their education, learning and leisure. They are at a big disadvantage and later, that can affect their getting a job or going on to higher education.
Katherine Low Settlement is trying to help reduce poverty, hunger and inequality in Battersea, which is why we fully support Free School Meals being given to children in need during holidays, and we are actively working with Wandsworth Council and others to fight digital poverty. And that’s another story we’ll tell you about later.
Help this Half Term
We know the government’s recent decision on Free School Meals will affect children in Wandsworth.
Here’s a list of ways to give and get help this half term (thanks to Wandsworth Welcomes Refugees):
Donate to Wandsworth Foodbank
Wandsworth Foodbank is grateful to all the local residents who have been making donations recently but they still need donations, especially during half term. Click here to donate online or to find out how you can donate food.
Sign this Petition
Click here to sign Marcus Rashford MBE’s petition to end child food poverty.
Click here to find local restaurants offering free meals this half term.
Click here to apply for a Discretionary Support Grant from Wandsworth Council.
Click here to access support from Wandsworth Foodbank.