For some families school holidays are not defined by trips abroad or days out, but by money worries and hunger.
For some, the absence of free school meals over the school holidays can make a huge difference. Holiday hunger can have a distressing effect on a child’s mental and physical wellbeing, as well as impacting educational development.
According to the National Education Union, holiday hunger is on the rise, affecting more children now than it did three years ago. Additionally, according to the Resolution Foundation, child poverty is projected to have increased last year by around three per cent.
This has been driven by benefit cuts that have particularly hit low-income families, including the real-terms fall in the value of tax credits and child benefit. This Conservative Government’s welfare reform and austerity measures are hitting the most vulnerable the hardest and driving families into poverty.
The Trussell Trust has warned that food bank usage spikes each summer.
The increase in the number of families with children relying on food banks during school holidays brings to light the clear struggles that families on low-incomes are facing in the absence of free school meals.
It is a disgrace that in 2018 such poverty exists – and that food banks and voluntary organisations are having to step in to provide crucial support where central government is failing.
Across Warrington, volunteers and organisations are working tirelessly to provide much-needed help and support.
Warrington Foodbank is working to ensure that vulnerable children do not go hungry through the holidays.
is a community response to holiday hunger, offering fun physical activities and nutritious, healthy meals to help make sure children and young people have somewhere to go, something to do, and something to eat in the school holidays.
The campaign is running events in Warrington
But it is time for the Government to step up and take the action that is needed to put an end to holiday hunger once and for all.
As a father and as a local MP, this is an issue that is close to my heart.
In Westminster, I am a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Groups on Hunger, Foodbanks and on School Meals – and in those roles I will be working closely with my parliamentary colleagues to see that proper action is taken to ensure that all children are fit, fed and healthy all year round.
If you are affected by food poverty, or wish to learn more about how you can support your local Foodbank, please visit their official website below: