R4U urges Essex County Council to ensure children have half-term food

PUBLISHED: 10:58 28 October 2020 | UPDATED: 12:56 28 October 2020

R4U’s Councillor Alex Armstrong. Picture: R4U

R4U’s Councillor Alex Armstrong. Picture: R4U

Residents for Uttlesford (R4U)

Residents for Uttlesford councillors have written to Essex County Council, urging it to ensure there is food on children’s tables.

R4U’s Councillor Petrina Lees. Picture: R4UR4U’s Councillor Petrina Lees. Picture: R4U

LINKED: Half-term support from Essex County Council

Cllr Alex Armstrong, Uttlesford District Council’s portfolio holder for Education and Libraries, said there is increased need and child food poverty has been brought into the national consciousness by Marcus Rashford MBE.

Their members are working out what they can do to help Uttlesford families.

“As a result of Covid-19 many more families in our district are now in financial hardship.

“These are families who were struggling on low incomes before the pandemic.

“Research by food poverty charity Trussell Trust, backer of the Uttlesford Foodbank, shows that a quarter of UK parents with under-18s skip meals because of money.

“Our society has long-established principles of supporting those most in need, and the national Free School Meals programme is part of ensuring that no child should go hungry.”

Cllr Petrina Lees, UDC portfolio holder for Wellbeing and Health, said Uttlesford residents and businesses have been stepping forward to help.

“Teachers and staff at the Saffron Walden County High School have dug into their own pockets to fund all the free school meals required by the school’s students over half term. “They have been joined by local businesses, community groups and residents who have offered the same either directly or via donation programmes.

“This is heart-warming, but at the end of the day it is the government’s responsibility to protect its most vulnerable citizens.”

Cllr Lees claimed that if MP expenses or the cost of MP subsidised food was used to support free school meals, it would cover millions of servings.

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