• Wednesday, April 17, 2024

News

Sadiq Khan extends free holiday meals programme

It follows Khan’s historic plans to extend free school meals for state primary schoolchildren for another academic year

Sadiq Khan speaks to members as he attends the London Region Reception on the eve of the Labour Party conference on October 07, 2023 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

LONDON mayor Sadiq Khan on Thursday (18) announced the extension of the free holiday meals programme for another year.

Khan would spend £4 million in his 2024/25 budget to continue the programme that provides free meals to families during schools holidays and at weekends, a statement said.

Under the initiative, the Mayor’s Fund for London and the Felix Project have helped to deliver more than 10.1 million free meals to families across London since April 2023.

The Felix Project also delivering surplus food to nearly 1,000 charity organisations and schools, and the Mayor’s Fund providing free healthy meals through more than 340 community partners and 90 Kitchen Social hubs alongside a range of school holiday activities.

A recent YouGov poll, commissioned by City Hall, found that more than a third (35 per cent) of parents or carers of children under 18 are buying less food and essentials, with 41 per cent using less water, energy or fuel to help them manage living costs. Three in ten (30 per cent) say they are ‘financially struggling’.

“I’m immensely proud that our funding for free holiday meals has already helped to deliver more than 10m free meals to hundreds of thousands of London families and young people. Londoners continue to struggle with the cost-of-living crisis with families worrying about how to feed their children, which is why I’m stepping in with a proposed £4m funding to deliver these vital meals for another year,” said Sadiq Khan.

“By helping to provide healthy meals alongside activities for young people during school holidays, we’re building a fairer and better London for all.”

Charlotte Hill OBE, CEO of The Felix Project said: “We know free holiday meal provision is vital, the same as free school meals for so many children it is the only way they are guaranteed to get a delicious healthy meal during the school holidays. We are therefore delighted that the Mayor has announced plans to extend funding to his free holiday meals programme.”

Jade Harris, head of food and communities, Mayor’s Fund for London, said: “This second year of funding from the Mayor of London will ensure hundreds of thousands of children have access to nutritious food and wrap around support in the school holidays, as community partners and families continue to struggle with the rising cost-of-living and food costs.

“This funding provides not only nutritious meals but life changing skills and activities to young people, teaching them how to prepare healthy food on a budget and providing free activities to support their physical and mental wellbeing.”

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