Greater Manchester councils take action to feed the city’s most vulnerable children over half-term

  • Manchester, Stockport and Oldham Councils among those offering half-term free school meal support

  • 28,000 children and young people eligible for support in Manchester alone

  • Shock at governments snub of the free school meal support program

Greater Manchester councils have pledged to support their most vulnerable children through this week’s half-term holiday to ensure no child goes hungry.   

Many councils have stepped in to provide for those who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals in the absence of a government-backed national scheme.

Eligible families will receive £15 per child for the week in Manchester. Salford City Council is committing to find £10 a week for all children on free school meals.

Approximately 31% of pupils aged 16 and under in Manchester schools are eligible for free school meals, around 28,000 children and young people.

Marcus Rashford’s pleas to the goverment have so far been rebuffed but may local councils across Greater Manchester have acted in support of the Manchester United strikers cause.

Councillor Garry Bridges, executive member for children and schools, said: “Marcus Rashford is right – no child should be going hungry during school holidays.

“In the absence of government support to ensure this, the city council is stepping in to fund the provision of a free lunch for all qualifying children in the city this half-term.

“We’re determined to make sure that no children go hungry on our watch and will be doing everything we possibly can to continue to support them and their families through the difficult weeks and months ahead.”

Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett said “I, like many others across the country, was shocked to hear about the government’s refusal to back Marcus Rashford’s proposals – proposals which themselves were based on governments own commissioned policy recommendations.

“it is remarkable how callous government can be when considering the plight of vulnerable British children.”

Councillor Arooj Shah, Oldham Council’s deputy leader, told NQ: “A light has been shone on this vitally important subject by the Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford and we in Oldham will step up and play our part in these difficult financial times for us all.

“We will also keep the pressure on Central Government to ensure that the free school meals in holiday time campaign is not forgotten and we must ensure our most vulnerable are supported to get a basic meal.”