BIG ISSUE NATIONAL VENDOR WEEK
LEARN MORE
Activism

Mums on hunger strike since Mother’s Day in solidarity with parents who can’t feed their kids

“We are just heartbroken by the fact that mothers are skipping meals to ensure they feed their children,” one striking mum said.

food poverty

The striking mums outside Downing Street. Image: Arlo Hopkins

A group of mums have been on hunger strike since Mother’s Day to draw attention to food poverty and parents skipping meals to feed their children.

Made up of a group of 10 women outside Downing Street and more across the country the “Mother’s Hunger Strike” activists are protesting as new statistics show 17.7 per cent of UK households experienced food insecurity in January.

Chantelle Norton, a food bank coordinator from Devon, is on day four of her hunger strike.

“We are just heartbroken by the fact that mothers are skipping meals to ensure they feed their children,” she told The Big Issue.

food poverty
The striking mums are hoping to engage with politicians and the public. Image: Arlo Hopkins

Your support changes lives. Find out how you can help us help more people by signing up for a subscription

The strike is planned to run for six days, with many of those on strike still having childcare responsibilities. Standing outside Downing Street in the day, the group is being provided with free accommodation nearby.

They want to ensure people are paid enough, and that benefits rise enough to afford food amid record inflation. 

Food prices increased by 18.2 per cent in the year to February 2023, and the number of people turning to Trussell Trust food banks increased by 40 per cent year-on-year.

The latest government statistics show nine per cent of children were living in food poverty from 2020 to 2021.

food poverty
Grace, one of the mums on hunger strike. Image: Arlo Hopkins

It’s something Norton is well aware of from her time volunteering with a food bank.

“It makes me more angry about my food bank clients who are having to go through this kind of feeling,” she said

“Somebody that is in hardship, they don’t have the support and they don’t know when it is going to end.”

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas visited the scene to show her support and said “no child should go hungry and no mother should have to skip meals to feed children”. Lucas called on the government to address the strikers’ demands.

Get the latest news and insight into how the Big Issue magazine is made by signing up for the Inside Big Issue newsletter

The impact of the climate crisis is evident from conversations with food growers in Devon, Norton said.

“As the seasons get chaotic it is causing havoc with the supply of vegetables,” she said.

“Even experienced farmers that have been doing it for their entire career are saying what a struggle it is”.



National Vendor Week 2024

A celebration of people who are working their way out of poverty.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Street Soccer Scotland founder David Duke: 'You don't get anything in life without sacrifice'
David Duke, Street Soccer Scotland founder
Letter to my younger self

Street Soccer Scotland founder David Duke: 'You don't get anything in life without sacrifice'

9 LGBTQ+ trailblazers who defined and redefined modern Britain 
LGBTQ+ rights

9 LGBTQ+ trailblazers who defined and redefined modern Britain 

Beats Bus: How a Hull group is using hip-hop to fight poverty and protect young people from gangs
beats bus
Community activism

Beats Bus: How a Hull group is using hip-hop to fight poverty and protect young people from gangs

Women share harrowing accounts of painful NHS hysteroscopies: 'I begged the doctor to stop'
Health

Women share harrowing accounts of painful NHS hysteroscopies: 'I begged the doctor to stop'

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Here's when UK households to start receiving last cost of living payments
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Here's when UK households to start receiving last cost of living payments

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know