Young People call on Westminster to prioritise Free School Meals

Westminster free school meals stunt

Our Young Food Ambassadors staged a large-scale stunt outside Parliament by reworking one of the most iconic political slogans in history to call on politicians to stop ignoring children missing out on Free School Meals.

They came from across the nation to hold up giant billboard outside parliament which showed a 'queue' of 900,000 children living in poverty in England who are currently being denied access to this vital nutritional safety net. 

Their protest was targeted at politicians from both the Labour and Conservative parties as they begin to plan their election manifesto commitments and comes just weeks before the start of the party conferences.

More videos from the event here

Politicians of all parties were supportive of the protest.

The young people were joined by Munira Wilson, the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Education, Labour MPs Emma Lewell-Buck, Ian Byrne and John McDonnell as well as the Green Party's Caroline Lucas and SNP's John Mcnally and Martyn Day.

One of the young campaigners also met with her MP, James Davies - Conservative MP for Vale of Clwyd - who promised to help raise the issue in parliament.

Fayeth, 16, from Wales said: "I think it's important that every young person has a healthy and nutritious meal each day.

"We are lucky in Wales Free School Meals are being rolled out across all primary schools. But it's not fair that some people get in and some people don't."

Saf, 18, said: "I didn't receive Free School Meals when I was younger - I was one of four siblings - my parents didn't earn a lot of money but too much to qualify for Free School Meals and so we would go to school without some of the time. It is just not ok that this is still happening."

The Feed the Future campaign calls on politicians from both sides to extend access to Free School Meals to all school children, with the first step being to immediately target children from families receiving Universal Credit.

The Liberal Democrats and Green Party already support eligibility extension but so far, neither Labour nor the Conservatives have made any concrete commitments.

There has already been support from campaigners, teachers, caterers and health professionals - and MPs from across the political spectrum.

Celebrity chefs Tom Kerridge and Melissa Hemsley have also backed calls for Free School Meals to be extended, while new data shows Labour and Conservative target voters overwhelmingly back giving Free School Meals to more children.

Tom Kerridge said: "I'm saddened that in this country, in 2023 myself and hundreds, if not thousands, of others are calling on the Government to feed our children at school.

"As a nation we need to look at our moral compass and make decisions that will hugely benefit future generations, it shouldn’t be a case of where you live dictating if you get a hot meal that day.

"The facts presented are difficult to swallow and should be a massive wake up call to those in power to make changes."

Melissa Hemsley said the 900,000 children missing out deserved to be nourished just like primary school children in London.

She added: "I recently visited a London primary school a few days into the rollout of Free School Meals and spoke to teachers, catering teams and support staff who told me how pleased they were that no children would be left without and alienated this academic year."

The stunt follows new data showing Labour and Conservative party target voters overwhelmingly back giving Free School Meals to more children as families continue to struggle with the cost of living and rising food prices.

Members of the public are invited to write to your MP or sign the e-petition HERE to offer their support for the campaign.

With thanks to our partners

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