Update: Since I posted my story this morning, the Government have announced they’ve made a U-turn on their decision and will now extend the scheme throughout the summer holidays. Thank you to everyone that helped by tweeting and emailing their local MPs. This just shows what co-operation can really do!
By Jo Whitfield, Food CEO
Right at the very start of this pandemic, we knew it was the right thing to do to make sure no child at our 25 Co-op Academy schools would go hungry. That’s why we stepped in then, and why we’re doing the same now.
We’re making sure the 6,000 students who register for free school meals at Co-op Academies, won’t miss out during the Summer holidays. So, we’ll be continuing to give them a £20 voucher to spend in Co-op food stores each week.
I know this is a small contribution when you consider there are 1.3 million kids on free school meals in this country. That’s why we’re supporting Marcus Rashford’s open letter asking the Government to follow our lead and extend the national scheme throughout the Summer.
It’s great to have worked with Marcus on our recent FareShare campaign, asking people to donate to food banks throughout the country, and it’s only right we stand beside him on this issue too.
The Government’s decision not to continue funding Free School Meals through the summer holidays will be debated in Parliament today and you could really make a difference by contacting your local MP (write a letter, email or Tweet!) or sign the Labour Party petition urging the Government to change course and fund meals for all eligible students. We must keep up the pressure on Government to act before all schools break for the summer holidays.