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Mark calls for free school meal for every child living in poverty in Preston

(March 08, 2013)

Mark is backing calls for a free school meal to be provided to every child living in poverty in Preston.  This comes as shocking new statistics by the charity ‘The Children’s Society’ reveals that more than 2700 children in Preston are missing out.  This means 52% of all children in poverty in the city who are not getting a free school meal. 

Mark said: “I think it is a tragedy that children living in poverty are not collecting free school meals, either because they don’t qualify or because they don’t collect it.  Good nutrition affects children for the rest of their lives. 

Unless children are properly fed and nourished and are getting the food they need they won’t develop in school.  I know of cases in schools I am visiting where they are having breakfast clubs because children are not getting it at home.”

For some children, a free school lunch may be the only hot, nutritious meal they get. Across the country, for a third of children whose parents The Children’s Society spoke to, lunch was their main meal of the day.

 The Children’s Society Chief Executive Matthew Reed says: “We know from the families we work with up and down the country that parents are struggling to make ends meet.  Right now, the government is reconsidering which children will be entitled to get free school meals.  We urge the government to take this opportunity to make sure all children in poverty can get a free school meal.”

 Many low income families are unable to get free school meals simply because their parents are working – no matter how little they earn.

 Across the country every day, more than half of the 2.2 million school children living in poverty in England miss out on a free school meal.  Of these, 700,000 are not even entitled to one – often because their parents work, regardless of how little they earn.

For more information please visit The Children’s Society’s Fair and Square campaign www.childrenssociety.org.uk/fairandsquare

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