Our First Big Campaign Win: Free School Meals 2020

We secured a big win for free school meals! In 2021, we campaigned for free school meals to be extended over the holidays.

We’ve done it! The Government just announced measures to provide free school meals over the holidays until the end of 2021. This incredible outcome follows some brilliant campaigning by our young activists.

We demanded that the Government put child health first. And they finally listened!

Having access to a hot, healthy meal every day sets us up for success — and the country’s most vulnerable children need at least one decent meal a day, all year round.

In May, talented young campaigner Christina Adane launched a petition to extend the provision of free school meals over the holidays. Since then, almost 450,000 people have signed it — a staggering achievement that shows we really touched a nerve on this issue. We’ve been featured prominently in the media — BBC News, the Daily Mail, Sunday Times, and Good Morning Britain. And Marcus Rashford joined the fight, helping us generate huge attention for the campaign and the young people at the centre of it.

In response the Government extended access to free school meal provision for various holidays. But we wanted them to go further, and commit to long-term support. And that’s exactly what we got. After a series of last-minute U-turns, the Government finally announced a package of support to provide healthy meals throughout the holidays for the children who most need them.

Overall, it’s good news. The measures run up to the end of 2021, giving some much-needed certainty for families. For the first time, the many public and voluntary sector organisations involved in providing food support will be able to plan and prepare — but it still might not be enough. The devil is in the detail: we’ll be keeping a close eye on how it’s rolled out.

This package represents a big step forward for child health, but all these measures expire on 31st December 2021. It’s still not the permanent solution that we’ve been calling for — so we urge the Government to extend this vital work.

As Christina says: ”Child food poverty must be abolished once and for all. We will keep campaigning until this happens.”

*Update October 2021

Great news! Following its successful roll out over the past year, the Government has agreed to extend funding for free school meals during the holidays.