You may have read about the debate that took place this week on whether the Government should fund free school meals for 1.4m children during the half-term school holidays. Despite a powerful campaign by the footballer Marcus Rashford and the support of many MPs, including our local MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy, MPs voted to not extend the scheme – with many from the Government saying that such a move would create further dependency.
As your local Councillors, we’re proud that where the Government failed to act, Lambeth Council has stepped in to provide free school meals in Lambeth during this half-term. Tulse Hill has excellent schools with dedicated teaching/support staff who work alongside parents to create a strong environment for the education and well-being of pupils. It is a shame that in a country as wealthy as the UK, holiday hunger programmes are still necessary – but the economic impact of coronavirus has only made the situation worse for many families. This decision, like how the Council supplied PPE to care homes earlier this year, shows that when the Government refuses to act – your local Councillors will move swiftly to step in and make the right choices.
As you will know, many individuals and families were struggling to obtain food (especially fresh food) before the coronavirus pandemic. FareShare, the charity championed by Marcus Rashford, operates to get spare food to community organisations from supermarkets and other food suppliers. Here in Tulse Hill they distribute food via an amazing network of volunteers on the St Martin’s, Tulse Hill and St Matthew’s Estates. You can find out more about them on their website – including how you can help. Other local food banks are also calling for volunteers and donations through crowdfunding.