Marcus Rashford fronts charity campaign to boost take up of holiday meals scheme

England striker Marcus Rashford is fronting a charity campaign to encourage take up of the government’s £220m holiday activities and food programme.

The Manchester United forward and foot poverty campaigner is starring in a Food Foundation video urging parents to sign up to the initiative.

The programme is offering free food and meals to pupils eligible for free school meals during the summer holidays.

However, the charity has found that awareness of the initiative is low, particularly among disadvantaged families.

The Foundation found that less than a quarter (24%) of parents have heard of the holiday activities and food programme.

Less than half (43%) of parents with children eligible for free school meals are aware of the scheme.

“I know only too well that the holidays can be a really difficult time for families who are struggling,” said Rashford.

“It’s such a weight off their shoulders to know that there is a safe space for their children to go, where their minds can be stimulated, and where they are guaranteed at least one meal a day.”

The film also features pupils and was filmed at schools in Leeds, London and Button Lane primary school in Manchester, where Rashford went to school.

“The pandemic has hit the most vulnerable and disadvantaged the hardest, with food poverty at the heart of the difficulties for many families,” said Food Foundation chief executive Anna Taylor.

“It’s absolutely crucial that we are supporting our young people so that they can overcome these challenges and thrive.”

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