Petition update

We did it! This is a big step forward for child health...

Christina A
London, ENG, United Kingdom

Nov 10, 2020 — Since March 2020, I have been calling on the government to extend free school meals and over 430k of you have supported me. Thank you.

Now, after a series of last minute U-turns, the government has finally put together a package of support that aims to reduce the triple burden of child malnutrition; underweight, hidden hunger and overweight.

Overall, it’s pretty good news. Measures have been put in place that run up to the end of 2021, giving some much-needed certainty and helpful advance notice. For the first time, the many public and voluntary sector organisations involved in providing food support will be able to plan and prepare.

So how does it work? Because of the upcoming government spending review, it splits into two parts:

Covering the period to March 2021, there will be a new Covid Winter Grant Scheme of £170m for local authorities in England. This is effectively a reboot of the £63m provided to LAs in June, but now with an explicit expectation that it be used to tackle holiday hunger.

The second part, covering April to December 2021, uses a different mechanism. Here, the government has chosen to extend its existing Holiday Activities and Food Programme (HAF) which wraps activities around a lunchtime meal for children eligible for free school meals. Sunday’s announcement pledges £220m to extend HAF to all parts of the country for the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays in 2021. That’s a huge increase on the £9m available for HAF this summer - but it still might not be enough.

Whilst this package represents a big step forward for child health, all these measures expire on 31st December 2021. It’s still not the permanent solution. Child food poverty must be abolished once and for all and I will keep campaigning until this happens.

To stay updated on this campaign and find out more about all the work we are doing to make sure every young person in the country has access to healthy food, please head to and subscribe to our newsletter.

Many thanks for all of your support,


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