Hackney Council will support Marcus Rashford’s campaign and ensure that no child goes hungry this half-term following the Government’s failure to fund free school meal vouchers during the holiday.

Families whose children are eligible for free school meals and need emergency support will be able to contact a Council helpline to access vouchers, and the Council will support schools delivering their own crisis programmes.

Families whose child is normally eligible for free school meals and who are struggling this half-term should contact the Council’s Early Help team on 020 8356 5000 or 020 8356 2710 (out of hours).

In Hackney, more than 11,000 pupils are eligible for free school meals. The Council has long worked with local food charities and organisations to ensure vulnerable families get support during the school holidays, including provision of vouchers to buy fresh fruit and vegetables.

In 2018, the Council also agreed to fund free school meals for children in migrant and refugee families with ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ ─ a status that usually makes them ineligible for Government support.

In April, Mayor Philip Glanville and Deputy Mayor Bramble wrote to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson to demand clarity about what provision would be put in place during school holidays – as well as asking the Government to expand where free school meal vouchers could be spent, supporting local businesses as well as supermarkets.

Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford’s End Child Food Poverty campaign called for an extension to free school meals, but a motion to provide 1.4million disadvantaged children in England with £15-a-week food vouchers during school holidays until Easter 2021 was voted down in Parliament this week.

The Council will also start work with schools and families over the coming weeks to ensure we have suitable provision for children entitled to Free School Meals over the Christmas period.

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