Last week the government announced £2.1bn extra cash for no-deal Brexit crisis planning. But in South Shields, the future of local breakfast clubs is under threat after losing out on £30,000 of Westminster funding. Emma Lewell-Buck, Labour MP for the area, is determined to stop children going hungry this summer – but the government isn’t making it easy.
“I get people coming into my office all the time absolutely desperate,” says Lewell-Buck, 40. “The safety net that my parents relied on when we needed it has been completely eroded.”
She has represented her constituency in Parliament since 2013. A former social worker, she specialised in child protection and more recently co-founded holiday hunger charity Feeding Britain with fellow MP Frank Field. It has built a national network of community groups, providing support and resources to them to make a difference to families struggling to feed themselves and their children during the summer holidays.
When she first entered Parliament, Lewell-Buck joined the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Hunger, subsequently touring the UK to meet people who testified to the scale of the crisis. The MP was left heartbroken.
“After the 2015 election, we realised austerity was going to continue to be pushed through, cruel welfare reform would still be the order of the day. So setting up Feeding Britain seemed like something of value to do in the here and now. We imagined it as the ‘doing’ arm of the APPG.”
A fraction of the generous foodbank donations dropped at my office this week to be delivered to Key 2 Life. Thank you to the fabulous local people who have been so kind – you are making a real difference. I promise to keep fighting for the day we don’t need to do this any more. pic.twitter.com/xUhWccDnst
— Emma Lewell-Buck MP (@EmmaLewellBuck) August 1, 2019