A key priority for the Mayor and GMCA is to work to end the scandal of food poverty and holiday hunger.
In Greater Manchester there has been a rise in the number of children and young people who are eligible for free school meals. Data from the January 2021 school census indicates that over 120,000 pupils across Greater Manchester schools were eligible for free school meals. This is approximately 26% of all pupils.
There are also a significant number of children and families who are not entitled to free school meals but are suffering from financial hardship. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a series of contributing factors where people are in a more vulnerable position but may not be eligible for additional support. This includes increased unemployment and deprivation and the insecurity that the end of furlough and the lifting of the eviction ban brings.
Through the No Child Should Go Hungry initiative the GMCA aims to tackle holiday hunger and work with partners that are prepared to support it.
The No Child Should Go Hungry initiative was launched over the October half term in 2020 and has provided over 13,000 Emergency Food Cards for children and young people over school holidays. These cards could be used in a range of supermarkets.
In addition to the Emergency Food Cards Greater Manchester has set up a funding platform to support the ‘No Child Should Go Hungry’ initiative to alleviate holiday hunger. Local charity Forever Manchester are providing GMCA with a Charitable Fund Management and grant-making service. Anyone who feels they can donate to help people who may be experiencing holiday hunger can do so at this website:
The Mayor of Greater Manchester and GMCA will work closely with partners in each local authority area, such as voluntary and charity organisations, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership and local businesses to make sure that there is a collaborative approach to tackling holiday hunger.
Addressing food poverty and the root causes of it are key priorities for the Mayor and GMCA. Alongside the No Child Should Go Hungry initiative Greater Manchester was the first city-region to support a campaign which calls for the ‘Right to Food’ to become a legal requirement.
The ‘Right to Food’ campaign, launched by Fans Supporting Foodbanks, calls for a change in the law to make access to food a legal right for all in the UK making Government legally responsible to help people suffering from food poverty.
Greater Manchester will also look to launch a Food Insecurity Action Network. This aims to be a grassroots, community led partnership that will initially drive action to support the ‘No Child Should Go Hungry’ initiative.