By Good News Post reporter.
Big hearted footballer Marcus Rashford has formed a taskforce with some of the UK’s biggest food brands to try to help reduce child food poverty.
The 22-year-old Manchester United and England forward has already won a fight to feed children on free school meals over the summer.
He is now warning of “devastating” effects on the stability of the country if action is not taken quickly.
He has written to MPs, outlining the help he feels some families still need.
In his letter, Rashford wrote: “When we pause, listen and reflect on what the future of our next generation could potentially look like, it’s easy to see that if we don’t take action quickly, the issue of child food poverty will have devastating effects on the stability of our country.
“These children are the future – our next generation of NHS workers, police officers, footballers and politicians.”
Rashford recalls his own experience, writing: “I remember the sound of my mum crying herself to sleep to this day, having worked a 14-hour shift, unsure how she was going to make ends meet.”
They include expanding the numbers who are eligible for free school meals – and offering them free food and activities during school holidays in England.
Mr Rashford has spoken about his own experiences of using a food voucher scheme as a child and was praised for pressing the government into a U-turn on the issue.
The group of supermarkets, businesses and charities – including Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Deliveroo, FareShare, Food Foundation, Iceland, Kellogg’s, Lidl, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose – have formed a taskforce and backed proposals from the National Food Strategy, an independent review of UK food policy.
The taskforce is calling for three policy recommendations by the National Food Strategy to be funded by the government as soon as possible:
- Expanding free school meals to every child from a household on Universal Credit or equivalent, reaching an additional 1.5m children aged seven to 16
- Expanding an existing school holiday food and activities programme to support all children on free school meals in all areas of England. instead of the current 50,000 children that are helped
- Increasing the value of the Healthy Start vouchers – which help parents with children under the age of four and pregnant women buy some basic foods – from £3.10 to £4.25 per week, and expanding it to all those on Universal Credit or equivalent, reaching an additional 290,000 people
The taskforce says implementing the three recommendations would mark a “unifying step to identifying a long-term solution to child poverty in the UK”.
Over the next six weeks, the task force members will dedicate their platforms to sharing stories of those most affected by child food insecurity in the UK.
In a letter to MPs, Rashford said the objective is to “see sufficient funds from the Chancellor’s Budget and Spending Review allocated to implementing these without delay”.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he ‘couldn’t respect Marcus Rashford more’ after the Manchester United striker’s successful campaign for children to be given free school meals over the summer.