How is Devon helping to feed its children?

“We therefore urgently call on the Government to properly fund support for all vulnerable people in Devon affected by the financial impacts of the pandemic.”

And a petition urges the county council to provide free school meal vouchers during school holidays.

.

Cafés, pubs and restaurants are filling the gap left by central government:

Budleigh café offers free children’s lunches – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Free packed lunches given to Sidmouth families in need | sidmouth.nub.news

Devon pubs, cafes and restaurants offering to feed kids over half term – Devon Live

.

There have been other local initiatives:

Free School Meals during half term in Seaton – a Food and Drink crowdfunding project in Seaton by Re:store

.

“A mum has asked the MP for East Devon why teddies and paper plates used in a peaceful protest over free school meals were removed from outside his Exmouth HQ”:

Teddies and paper plates protest over free school meals snub removed from outside HQ of East Devon MP

.

And a petition has been put together:

We the undersigned petition the council to Provide free school meal vouchers, for those pupils in receipt of term-time free school meals, throughout the school holidays.

The Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford MBE’s campaign to extend free school meal vouchers to children in need throughout the school holidays was unsuccessful in parliament yet several local councils have decided to take on that cost and responsibility, as have local businesses and charities. This petition seeks to urge Devon County Council to do the same thing, and look to cover its costs by lobbying central government to cover the subsequent onward costs.

Started by: Cllr Joseph Whibley

.

In fact, there were calls some two weeks ago in Devon to take action:

Exeter councillor calls for ‘food justice’ in Devon to help struggling families

Councillors urged to set up a food strategy for Devon – Devon Live

.

The County Council is taking action – of sorts:

Devon pledges extra support to ensure vulnerable children and families do not go hungry

Several authorities have already announced schemes to help out during half-term

… on Monday (October 26), the County Council said it will continue to work with district councils to ensure hardship support is available to vulnerable children and families across the county this winter and pledged extra funding to ensure no child goes hungry…

Cllr John Hart, Leader of Devon County Council, said: “We have already allocated £1.7 million this year through a shared hardship fund to ensure that the most needy children and families in Devon do not go hungry… I am now writing to the Government to outline that due to our financial position we are limited in our ability to provide this support beyond the spring. We therefore urgently call on the Government to properly fund support for all vulnerable people in Devon affected by the financial impacts of the pandemic.” …

Devon’s Liberal Democrats had called for the County Council to reverse its “mean minded” refusal to provide free school meals during the holidays…

Independent councillor Martin Shaw had asked the Leader of Devon County Council to provide school meals for children in need of them during the half-term holiday. The response given, Cllr Shaw said, was that the demands on funds were too tight to consider funding the scheme. Cllr Shaw added: “The cost of providing this support at half term and Christmas would not be huge, in the big scheme of things, but there are children in every area of Devon who really need this support.

Devon pledges extra support to ensure vulnerable children and families do not go hungry – Devon Live

.

It has become very politicised:

Tories in turmoil over Marcus Rashford’s free school meals drive | Daily Mail Online

Free school meals vote: How did my MP vote, who voted against it? | Politics | News | Express.co.uk

.

Even in Devon:

Neil Parish accused of ‘virtue signalling’ by calling for free school meals despite abstaining from crucial vote | InYourArea Community

Devon’s blind loyalty to the Tory Party results in diddly-squat (again) | East Devon Watch

Thousands have signed petition calling for MP Selaine Saxby to resign – Devon Live

   
© Vision Group for Sidmouth 2005-2022