No child in Bristol will be left hungry during the school holidays.
That is the message from our city’s mayor, Marvin Rees, as he pledges to work with organisations across the city to ensure that “our most vulnerable children and their families are not left to fall through the gaps”.
The promise comes as Manchester United and England footballer, Marcus Rashford, continues to lead a campaign to provide free meals for children of families facing hardship during the half-term school holidays.
The government has ruled out extending free meals nationwide beyond term time, but councils across the UK have now promised to provide meals.
Businesses across Bristol including the Gallimaufry on Gloucester Road, Hugo’s greengrocer on North Street and Cafe on the Square in Sea Mills will also be providing free food for children who need it most next week.
In a video posted on his social media accounts, Rees said: “We’ve made tackling child hunger a priority. It was one of our priorities in 2016 and working with city partners from FareShare, Feeding Bristol, with our local MP Kerry McCarthy as well – who has been a real champion of this on a national level – we have done incredibly well.
“55,000 meals went out to children last summer holiday. Our private sector has come forward. I think we as a city can really be proud of living those values.
“Unfortunately earlier this week, government voted down efforts to raise support from national government for local authorities and partners who want to continue to make sure that our children are fed, particularly at this incredibly challenging time, as they go into the school holidays, and those children who get free school meals no longer having access to those free school meals during the school holidays.
“You’ll remember back in Easter we were part of a national lobbying campaign that led government to support children during the Easter holidays. This time we have not been successful, despite the efforts of Marcus Rashford.
“What I am pleased to say is that we as a city are stepping up yet again. In the absence of national government support, we have come together with Feeding Bristol and we will be making sure that next week a food safety net is put in place so that our most vulnerable children and their families are not left to fall through the gaps.”
Main photo: Ayaan and Ben at Millpond Primary Breakfast Club – photo courtesy of Fareshare South West
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