PARENTS who will struggle to feed their families over the holidays will be better supported, thanks to the work of Emma Lewell-Buck.
Emma has been successful in securing funds that will deliver a number of ‘Holiday Hunger’ programmes across South Shields.
The MP has ensured South Shields has been able to tap into a £2m fund that supports with the cost of food and fun for poorer children over the summer.
For scores of families in the town, the arrival of summer holidays has put huge pressure on finances. With money already tight, and with the absence of free school meals for children from low-income families, the break can create added anxiety for parents who are unable to make ends meet.
It is estimated that it costs between £30- £40 a week extra to feed a family during the holidays – and often the result is that families are plunged into deeper financial strain or may not be able to eat properly at all.
Emma is fighting to raise awareness for the three million children who are at risk of hunger during the school holidays.
She says: “The holidays should be a time for endless hours of carefree fun for families in South Shields, but the sad reality is that – for many – it is quite simply a time that creates added pressure. Pressure brought to bear as a direct result of this Government’s punitive austerity measures, welfare reform and inaction on low paid and insecure work. I will always do whatever I can to help relieve the pressure on our families.”
Through Feeding Britain, a charity founded by Emma and fellow Labour MP Frank Field, Emma is ensuring her constituents have access to food clubs for their children during the holidays. The clubs follow on from a successful pilot in 2017, which provided over 43,000 meals in holiday fun clubs across eight areas in England during the summer holidays and October half term.
The clubs run in community centres, church halls, schools, children’s centres, libraries and parks, and they host games and activities for children, alongside breakfasts, lunches and lessons about food nutrition for young attendees. They aim to fight stigma and encourage children to eat and learn about cooking and nutrition.
Feeding Britain works with existing local charities, community groups, councils and others in the community and is building a movement to alleviate and eliminate hunger. Its vision is a UK where no one goes hungry.
Emma adds: “It is especially important during the six-weeks summer holidays that families in South Shields are aware of the extra support that is being made available.
“New figures from UNICEF reported that 10% of children in the UK are living in households affected by severe food insecurity. Hunger isn’t something any person would choose – it’s a symptom of the poverty people are suffering at the hands of this Government. And I will continue to do everything in my power to support those affected.”