Survey reveals concerns over ‘holiday hunger’
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A survey of a town’s schools has revealed that 100pc of those who responded are concerned about children suffering from “holiday hunger.”
Thetford Labour councillors have been asking local schools what support is being provided during Covid-19 for children who normally receive school meals and whether they are concerned for these youngsters during summer holidays.
The survey, which saw five Thetford schools respond, revealed that all are concerned about pupils being able to access food over the summer period.
Councillor Stuart Terry, who helped co-ordinate the survey, said: “It’s a sad indictment of our country today that schools are concerned about children being hungry during school holidays.
“I’m grateful to those Thetford schools that responded to the survey and shared their thoughts with us.
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“I’m grateful that the Norfolk Labour Group is now looking into some practical help to support schools and families during the summer holidays as the demand is clearly there.”
The issue of “holiday hunger” has hit the national headlines over recent weeks, with Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford leading a successful campaign which saw the government back down on plans to stop providing support to pupils in receipt of free school meals during the summer.
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Councillor Susan Dowling added: “We are obviously pleased that the Government u-turned on this decision.
“However, this only affects those families in receipt of free school meals.
“There are many more families just above this threshold who are struggling financially due to Covid-19 and the financial uncertainty.
“I’m keen that we look to provide support for those families where possible. No child in Thetford should be left hungry”.
Families that have seen their financial circumstances change during the past school year can still register for Free School Meals support by visiting the Norfolk County Council website.
Parents are being urged to sign up two weeks before the end of the school term, before July 13, to be eligible for support in the summer holidays.
The Norfolk County Labour Group has been fundraising to support families through its ‘Food Out Friday’ initiative which saw food and other essentials purchased and delivered to food bank networks across Norfolk.
More than £8,000 has so far been raised with Thetford Foodbank being one of the recipients. To donate, visit their GoFundMe page, here.