NEW CHILDREN’S RIGHT2FOOD CHARTER: YOUNG PEOPLE ACROSS THE UK CALL FOR GOVERNMENT ACTION ON CHILDREN’S FOOD INSECURITY
Today, the Children’s Right2Food Campaign’s Young Food Ambassadors are publishing their new Children’s Right2Food Charter, which 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 first episode of the Right2Food Podcast is also available:
The Charter is accompanied by a new report from the Food Foundation which points to a lack of action, slow progress and Covid-related delays in children’s food policy across all four UK nations despite two million children experiencing food insecurity since lockdown. In the report, young campaigners call on the government to acknowledge that the Covid-19 lockdown has made existing problems with children’s food insecurity worse, and that these issues are likely to get more serious with a recession and rising unemployment on the horizon. Increasing financial and social instability for many families will mean that further delays to policy developments could be all the more devastating for children living in poverty in the UK.
The key proposal put forward by the Young Food Ambassadors in their Children’s Right2Food Charter is a Children’s Right to Food Commission to monitor and improve children’s food. The Commission would be established in law, operate across all four UK nations and have young people at the heart of its leadership. Its first task would be to develop a plan to deliver the changes set out in the rest of the Charter.
The Charter also calls for:
- Plans for protecting children’s food security during future pandemics and emergencies
- Holiday provision to be expanded permanently, not just during the coronavirus pandemic, to support all children who normally receive free school meals when schools are closed
- Expanding access to free school meals so more children can benefit
- The free school meal allowance for secondary school children to be raised from £2.70 to £4.00 so it’s enough to buy a nutritious meal
- All schools to have the facilities for children to easily drink tap water
- Banning of advertising of unhealthy food aimed at children near schools, on TV, online and on social media
- Healthy food to be more affordable for everyone, and for fast food shops and fast food chains to ensure healthier options are cheaper than unhealthy ones
- Children entitled to free childcare to receive free nursery meals too
- Free school meals to be renamed the ‘school meal allowance’ to destigmatise the entitlement and remove the negative associations felt by many children.
The Campaign’s Ambassador Dame Emma Thompson is an Ambassador is supporting the young people as they demand the ear of Government and a formal response to their recommendation for a Children’s Right2Food Commission to be established to speed up action across government and monitor and protect children’s food in the UK.
The report and Charter will be launched during a webinar hosted by the Food Foundation: ‘What next for children’s food?’ Register here to join a discussion of urgent priorities for policy makers and parliamentarians, chaired by Sharon Hodgson MP.