Dame Emma Thompson has become the latest celebrity to toast success in the fight against childhood food poverty after campaigners praised the National Food Strategy for treating children’s health as a priority.
Dame Emma has been a long-time ambassador for the Children’s Right2Food Campaign, supporting 20 Young Food Ambassadors in their bid to deliver a Right2Food Charter which will ensure that no child goes hungry in England.
Much like Big Issue cover star Marcus Rashford’s incredible campaigning work on school meal vouchers earlier this summer, Dame Emma is celebrating success after the first major review of the UK’s food policy in nearly 75 years adopted several recommendations from the charter.
We have been campaigning for this day for over two years and it feels that finally we are being listened to
Restauranteur Henry Dimbleby’s first part of his National Food Strategy features urgent calls to identify the poorest children at risk of being “left behind” following the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic. He also insists that the nation’s diet is a “slow-moving disaster” and “medical emergency” requiring immediate action, echoing the Government’s anti-obesity strategy, revealed this week, that takes aim at junk food ads and sweets sold at checkouts.
The National Food Strategy recommends that free school meals (FSM) are expanded to include to every child from a household on Universal Credit or equivalent benefits as well as increasing the rollout of holiday activity and food programmes to all areas in England. The summer support should also expand to all children in receipt of FSM.
Dimbleby also calls for a 12-month extension of the ‘Food to the Vulnerable’ ministerial taskforce and for Healthy Start vouchers to be increased to £4.25 per week for pregnant women and households with children under four where parents receive Universal Credit or benefits.