Young Campaigner Award

Young food ambassadors – Feed the Future Campaign

Yumna, Saffron and their colleagues have worked to ensure that hundreds of thousands more children in London will get a hot nutritious meal at school.

The Campaign

Saffron and Yumna are two of the inspiring young campaigners involved in the Feed the Future campaign. Led by The Food Foundation and partner organisations, they worked as Young Food Ambassadors to call for Free School Meals for all children in England from households on Universal Credit.

The campaign was launched in the context of the soaring cost of living, which is particularly affecting low-income families. The latest data shows that one in four UK households with children are experiencing food insecurity, affecting an estimated four million children.

Free School Meals protect children from food insecurity while helping them learn, thrive, and be healthy. However, provision is falling short in England, where 800,000 children living in poverty don’t qualify for a Free School Meal. England’s eligibility is the most restrictive amongst the UK nations – Scotland and Wales are already rolling out universal school meals in primary schools.

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awards

Superpowers of Free School Meal, November 2022, Photographer: William Hearle

We are proud that these brave young campaigners have been shortlisted for this category. Many of them have benefited themselves from Free School Meals and know how vital this can be for a child’s education and health. Our Young Food Ambassadors are key to the work we do and their voices and input are crucial for our Feed the Future campaign. Thank you for recognising all of our hard work.”

awards

Superpowers of Free School Meal, November 2022, Photographer: William Hearle

We are proud that these brave young campaigners have been shortlisted for this category. Many of them have benefited themselves from Free School Meals and know how vital this can be for a child’s education and health. Our Young Food Ambassadors are key to the work we do and their voices and input are crucial for our Feed the Future campaign. Thank you for recognising all of our hard work.” 

The Change

Young ambassadors helped influence the decision of London Mayor Sadiq Khan to extend Free School Meals to all primary school children in the capital for at least one year, benefiting 270,000 primary school children.

The campaign has attracted a groundswell of support from influential voices in education leaders, health experts, and food companies, as well as celebrities such as Jamie Oliver and Tom Kerridge.

Through the Free Made Me campaign, people have shared positive stories about Free School Meals and their impact on lives and livelihoods, helping to detoxify the issue. Many public figures have spoken publicly about their own experiences of Free School Meals – this includes former Downing Street political advisor Lee Cain and renowned actress Kate Winslet. 

The campaign had proactive outreach from Department for Education officials and Ministers have asked civil servants for briefings and options. It’s generated two Prime Ministers Questions and more than 50 parliamentary questions. 

The Liberal Democrats are already fully supportive, as are many backbench Labour MPs who have been vocal advocates. Two MPs have sponsored Bills in Parliament and tabled Early Day Motions.

The Future

The Young Food Ambassadors welcomed the amazing news that primary school children in London will benefit from a hot, nutritious meal at school from September. But they remain worried about children who still miss out on Free School Meals across the rest of England. That’s why the Young Food Ambassadors will continue to campaign for change at a national level. This summer, they will be inviting their MPs to meet them in their schools to showcase how important a school meal can be for a children’s education. They will be taking part in a Free School Meals events and launching a film.

Who else was involved?

We want to credit the following partners on the Feed the Future Campaign: Bite Back 2030, School Food Matters, LACA, Chefs in Schools, Child Poverty Action Group, Jamie Oliver LTD, National Education Union and Sustain as well as the 38 organisations who are part of the School Food Review Working Group. We also want to give thanks to our funder and partner, Impact on Urban Health.