Children's Right2Food is a nationwide initiative to ensure every child in the UK can access and afford good food. Led by a team of Young Food Ambassadors across the UK, the campaign calls for government action to tackle children’s food insecurity and childhood obesity caused by inequalities.
Our story so far
It all began when the Young Food Ambassadors came together to launch their very own Right2Food Charter, calling on Government to listen to their stories and those of millions of other young people across the UK who were living with increased levels of hunger and food poverty.
They delivered their Right2Food Charter to
10 Downing Street
with Dame Emma Thompson who is also supporting their advocacy.
Since then, they have joined forces with
campaign to make sure no child in the UK goes hungry.
Children's Future Food Inquiry
Our campaign was shaped by the findings of the Children’s Future Food Inquiry – a year-long Inquiry into children’s food.
The Children’s Future Food Inquiry was launched in 2018 as the first attempt to speak directly and systematically to children, young people and those who live and work with them about children’s experience of food and how it affects their lives.
The Inquiry was spearheaded by a cross-party parliamentary committee and led by partners in each of the devolved nations: Food Sense Wales, Children in Wales, Children in Scotland and Children in Northern Ireland.
What are we campaigning for?
Children’s Right2Food Commission
to monitor and improve children’s food
A nutritious start in life for
– including expanding the
Healthy Start Scheme
A healthy lunch every day – making sure all children have
Free School Meals
that need them
Stop the stigma
- take steps to make sure no child feels humiliated by hunger
Put health before profits
- businesses and government must help make the
healthiest options the easiest
Children’s Right2Food Charter
Our Children's Right2Food Charter sets our an evidence-led road map to tackle children's food insecurity and inequalities in obesity and protect every child's right to food. We have worked with our Young Food Ambassadors on the recommendations in the Charter which reflect their lived experience of children's food.
The 2020 Children’s Right2Food Charter has been updated in light of the problems exacerbated by the Covid-19 lockdown, and provides an evidence-based road map for the government to ensure that every children has access to a healthy diet.
“The UK is the sixth richest economy in the world -
there is absolutely no need for any child to go hungry.
The fact that they are and in increasing numbers suggests cracks in a broken food system that can and must be repaired as a matter of the utmost urgency. Apart from the moral duty we owe to children, this is a severe public health problem.”
Emma Thompson, Ambassador for Children’s Right2Food
Why is change needed?
2.5 million children
live in food insecure households across the UK.
These levels are approximately 27% higher than before Covid.
Nearly half of food insecure families with children
do not qualify for Free School Meals
because the income threshold is set too low
secondary schools are non-compliant with School Food Standards
8-17-year-olds and their families visited a food bank last Christmas holidays.
1 in 5 children
start school living with overweight or obesity
Meet our Young Food Ambassadors
Meet the Young Food Ambassadors who have been campaigning for Government to act to stop child food poverty and give every child access to a healthy and affordable diet.
As well as being a Young Food Ambassador, Dev is Chair of the Leicester Young City Council and recently won the Diana award for his food poverty activism. Dev often speaks out on holiday hunger and Free School Meals himself. He feels strongly about the influence that junk food advertising on young people.
Saffron speaks out about the struggles of autistic young people with food and particularly the impact of food insecurity on children on the spectrum. Saffron feels strongly about families paying too much for unhealthy food and wants healthy food to be cheaper to access.
Tia was on Free School Meals her whole school life and has herself experienced the stigma that comes attached to not having enough to eat. She speaks passionately about tackling the misunderstanding attached to food poverty and the misassumptions made about low-income families.
Felix comes from a family of nine and knows how feeding a large family healthily can be a challenge. He campaigns about the impact of food security for larger families living in rural areas as well as issues like bullying related to childhood weight and obesity.
Asha understands the need for more support for low income single-parent families at risk of food poverty and campaigns passionately about the lifeline provided by Free School Meals, and the need for schools to be “poverty proofed” – e.g. for free water to be available for all children at schools.
Jani has grown up in a single-parent home and has felt the brunt of a diet based on cheaper processed foods like pizzas and little to no fruit and vegetables. She speaks out about hunger affecting young people’s concentration at school and preventing them from achieving their goals, like playing sport, due to lack of energy.
From her own experience, Rabiya talks about the problem of hunger affecting school children’s concentration, behaviour and self-confidence. She doesn’t shy away from issues not usually talked about – like how food poverty is a taboo subject in BAME communities.
Malachai is one of the youngest Young Food Ambassadors. As his mother is not working full time because she is studying for a university degree, Malachai benefits from Free School Meals and feels strongly about the misunderstanding and stigma attached to Free School Meal recipients.
Anna works at a holiday club near Belfast and has witnessed holiday hunger, with young children coming to the club with empty lunch boxes. She speaks out strongly on the need for all-year-round holiday provision and the risk of holiday hunger without it.
Robyn saw at school and college that lunches aren’t always the best quality and often lacked variety, showing a need for better monitoring to deliver better standards. She advocates for shifting the balance so healthier food is not more expensive or harder to find than unhealthy food.
Jacob has been involved in lots of exciting campaiging activity over the last 2 years – he’s contributed his own experience to the #endchildfoodpoverty campaign spearheaded by Marcus Rashford, written co-signed letters to Ministers and recently met with the Scottish Government to discuss his views on holiday provision and Universal Free School Meals in Scotland. He’s looking forward to talking to you about why youth voice matters in changing food and diets for young people.
Beth is a determined young campaigner focusing on delivering the Charter goals in her home in Wales and making sure children have equal access to good diets across the UK. She is a strong believer that food poverty is an issue that a highly developed country like the UK should not have to face and wants the Government to listen to young people to bring about change.
Ryan is a politically minded campaigner, acting as a member of the Scottish Youth Parliament and advocating for children in care. He is very strong speaking on the policy changes needed to protect children’s right to healthy and affordable food, and wants to make sure the good practice taking place in Scotland in relation to the monitoring of school food is adopted throughout the UK.
Yumna is a 16-year-old student advocate and campaigner, elected as Youth MP for Birmingham and Chair of Birmingham Youth Council as well as being an Act4ood, Act4Change Youth Leader. Her fight for an inclusive healthcare system has led her to facilitate numerous sessions with professionals to address healthcare inequalities and speak at national conferences, fuelling her desire to learn more about global and public health. A recent TEDx speaker, ‘Re-Imagining Education To Create An Impact In The World,’ Yumna works with organisations focussed on transforming the education system into one that is equitable, inclusive, decolonised and centres the views of learners.
Debbie wants to change the food environment for children in cities, which in more deprived areas often offers lots of cheap, unhealthy options and not enough fresh, healthy food that’s affordable for families.
Fayeth is a young carer and her mum and her are both epileptic. She and her little sisters are all on Free School Meals and Fayeth volunteers at her local foodbank. Fayeth speaks about food insecurity in the context of health vulnerability, and would like to see all children across all UK nations have equal access to food.
Patryk attends a holiday club near Belfast which has been providing food parcels out of term time. He has witnessed holiday hunger with young children coming to the club with empty lunch boxes. He speaks strongly on the need for all-year-round holiday provision and the risk of holiday hunger without it in Northern Ireland.
Gianna is on Free School Meals and studies nutrition at school, so is passionate about making sure all children both get enough food and that it is good quality. Gianna believes any remaining credit on Free School Meal cards should be rolled over and accumulated so children have more opportunity buy the more expensive, healthier options at the school canteen.
I want to address the issue of the cost of junk food verses healthy food. I know many families experiencing poverty can only afford junk food because healthy, nutritious food is too expensive and this needs to be reduced so every family can get the food they need. I also want to tackle stigma – a lot of families won't claim Free School Meals because they are too scared of judgment from other parents and even students and this needs to change.