Free school meals are back on the menu for summer holidays as Rashford scores victory for poor families

County education chiefs are planning to continue to roll out free school meals in the summer holidays

Tuesday, 16th June 2020, 3:45 pm
Free school meals back on the menu for summer holidays

The county council has praised soccer ace Marcus Rashford for his campaign to persuade the Government not to scrap the voucher scheme which has helped thousands of Lancashire's poorest families during the coronavirus lockdown.

Following pressure from the footballer, a special Covid-19 meal fund is being created to fund families entitled to free school meals to get vouchers to provide food for their children during the six weeks break

A Facebook message from County Hall said: "The extension of the free school meals voucher scheme over the summer is great news for many Lancashire families.

"We know that this scheme has been an invaluable help to parents to ensure that thousands of our children have not gone hungry through the coronavirus crisis and we welcome the government's decision to continue it.

"We'd also like to thank Marcus Rashford for raising this important issue in such a compassionate and constructive way."

School leaders have also welcomed the the U-turn.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union National Association of Head Teachers, said: "Holiday hunger has always been a great concern for school leaders and this summer is likely to be especially challenging for many low-income families given the impact of lockdown on finances.

"We are pleased the government has taken action to stop children going hungry over the summer and has committed the necessary funding to extend free school meals."

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: "The NEU welcomes the news that the government will provide a £120 million “Covid summer food fund” to support children and families who are facing real crisis as the summer holiday approaches.

" In the fifth richest country in the world, it is not right that so many children face food insecurity, especially in a time of global health crisis.

'After a great deal of public pressure the Government has finally recognised the importance of ensuring that children do not go hungry during this time of unprecedented pandemic. The NEU congratulates Marcus Rashford for the stand he has taken."

A spokesman for the Local Goverment Association also added: "Councils have done an excellent job supporting their communities during the coronavirus pandemic and will continue to work with schools, families and the Government to ensure that children and young people receive the support they need."

Manchester United and England forward Rashford was overjoyed at the support his appeal to the government not to cease serving free meals in the summer received and the 22 -year old responded on social media: "I don't even know what to say. Just look at what we can do when we come together. THIS is England in 2020"