Unicef UK to feed disadvantaged children in the UK for the first time

Unicef has teamed up with food and farming alliance Sustain to alleviate food poverty among families amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Called Food Power for Generation Covid the initative sees funding handed to 30 community projects and is aiming to reach as many as 15,000 young people by April 2021.

Among organisations to receive funding is School Food Matters, which has been handed £25,000 to provide breakfast boxes to London pupils. A similar project will run in Stockton on Tees.

Unicef UK director of programmes Anna Kettley said: “The pandemic has turned the lives of children and families upside down and for many the continued impact of the pandemic will be increasing financial worries.

“Community initiatives will play an essential role and through ‘Food Power for Generation Covid’ we hope to support families at the local level so that children can continue to eat well during this crisis period.”

Simon Shaw, Sustain’s head of food poverty programme, added: “This partnership with Unicef UK comes at crucial point in the midst of heighted Covid restrictions when many individuals’ resources will be depleted. Local alliances are well-placed to support their communities over the next few months and to reach those who have been hardest hit.”

The funding initiative has been welcomed by Manchester United striker and food poverty campaigner Marcus Rashford.

He said: “Unicef UK’s emergency response is vital for our most vulnerable communities. Given the impact of the pandemic, families are struggling more than ever to put food on the table. We must keep fighting for a long-term sustainable solution to combating child food poverty in the UK.

“We must prepare and equip all children to succeed in their adult lives and that work starts now, by stabilising households and building out an effective food access foundation.”

Unicef is the latest charity to be involved in alleviating food poverty in the UK. In October the charity Akshaya Patra, which feeds disadvantaged children in India, launched its first food kitchen in England.

The government had voted against funding free school meals for disadvantaged out of term time but backtracked in the autumn amid a public outcry over Conservative MPs stance on food poverty.

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