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Nursing groups join free school meals campaign

RCN and others urge government to reverse decision over free meals during holidays
Picture shows children being served a school meal

RCN and other nursing organisations urge government to reverse decision over free meals during holidays

Nursing organisations are putting pressure on prime minister Boris Johnson to reverse the governments decision not to continue providing free school meals during school holidays.

The RCN has joined forces with the Queens Nursing Institute, the Institute of Health Visiting, the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association, and the School and Public Health Nurses Association, to lobby the government on behalf of nurses and health visitors.

In a joint letter the organisations call for an immediate response to the fact that children are going hungry.

Families having to make heartbreaking choices

Each and every day nursing staff,

RCN and other nursing organisations urge government to reverse decision over free meals during holidays

Picture shows children being served a school meal
Picture: iStock

Nursing organisations are putting pressure on prime minister Boris Johnson to reverse the government’s decision not to continue providing free school meals during school holidays.

The RCN has joined forces with the Queen’s Nursing Institute, the Institute of Health Visiting, the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association, and the School and Public Health Nurses Association, to lobby the government on behalf of nurses and health visitors.

In a joint letter the organisations call for an ‘immediate response to the fact that children are going hungry’.

Families having to make heartbreaking choices

‘Each and every day nursing staff, midwives and health visitors see families having to make heartbreaking choices between heating their homes and feeding their families,’ the letter says. ‘This cannot be right in the sixth-largest economy in the world and must be addressed.’

The call comes a week after MPs voted against a proposal to offer free school meals during year-end and half-term holidays in England until Easter 2021.

Free school meals were provided during this year’s Easter holiday and extended throughout the summer holiday after a campaign led by footballer Marcus Rashford.

Picture: iStock

Since MPs rejected the proposal, local authorities, community groups and businesses have come forward to support Mr Rashford's campaign, while some cafes, restaurants and pubs have provided free meals for those in need.

However, in their letter the nursing organisations say this is not a sustainable solution to the problem.

‘We don’t want to see children going hungry this winter’

The government did not respond to a request for comment by Nursing Standard.

However, Mr Johnson told journalists on 26 October: ‘We support the local councils and indeed we fund the local councils and many of the organisations that are helping in this period.’

He said the government is raising universal credit by £1,000 a year to help families.

Mr Johnson said he ‘totally understands the issue of holiday hunger’. He insisted: ‘We do not want to see children going hungry this winter, this Christmas, certainly not as a result of any inattention by this government. You're not going to see that.’


Find out more

Nursing Organisations Join Calls to Extend Free School Meals (QNI)


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