Rashford welcomes school holiday support

Marcus Rashford, Manchester United

The government has agreed to spend more than £400m to support struggling families and children in England, following an anti-poverty campaign by Marcus Rashford. 

The Manchester United and England forward’s campaign began earlier this year when the government advised they would not be providing meal vouchers during the summer holidays for 1.3 million children in England who received free school meals. 

Rashford’s countrywide campaign ultimately led to the government making a change to their policy, allowing free meals for these children during the summer holidays. 

The PFA acknowledged this remarkable achievement by awarding Rashford with the PFA Merit Award in September 2020.

Following his success, Rashford then called for free school meals in October half-term. However, the government refused. 

Continuing his campaign, Rashford - who was recently awarded an MBE for his charity and community work - received a phone call from Prime Minister Boris Johnson. He explained the details of a winter grant scheme, that will help families in financial difficulties buy food and pay their utility bills from December to March. 

Rashford told the BBC: “Following the game today, I had a good conversation with the prime minister to better understand the proposed plan, and I very much welcome the steps that have been taken to combat child food poverty in the UK.

“The intent the government have shown today is nothing but positive and they should be recognised for that. The steps made today will improve the lives of near 1.7 million children in the UK over the next 12 months, and that can only be celebrated.”

He added that seeing the role everyone across the country has played in supporting some of the most vulnerable children in society was, “the greatest moment of my life”.

He concluded: “I am fully committed to this cause, and I will fight for the rest of my life for it, because in my mind, no child should ever go hungry in the United Kingdom.”