Revered British footballer, Marcus Rashford MBE, has teamed up with the Child Food Poverty Taskforce on the launch of a new website dedicated to supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged families over the Christmas period.
Coinciding with the broadcast of the new BBC documentary, Marcus Rashford: Feeding Britain’s Children, which hit screens at 7pm last night, the launch follows the footballer’s highly-publicised efforts to end child food poverty across the UK.
The website aims to help vulnerable families and children find support over the Christmas holidays via an interactive map, which signposts the available support in their local area. Local authorities, corporations, food banks, NGOs, charities and sporting organisations are among those who have signed up, donating food to help young people and their families make it through the festive break and beyond.
On top of this, the website offers information on the various ways people can help; from donating money to volunteering.
With the government recently announcing funding of £170m for local authorities through the emergency winter grants scheme, it’s clear the nation is facing one of the most challenging Christmas periods on record – elevated by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis – with many struggling to feed their families. The #EndChildFoodPoverty website includes details and links that allow people to easily search and find the support being offered by their local council.
Hundreds of food banks and charities have also registered details of the emergency food provision they will be offering over the holidays, with a huge spike in people searching for assistance. According to IFAN, the UK saw a 60% increase in the use of food banks in October this year, forecasting a sharp surge in numbers as millions deal with the financial insecurity caused by the pandemic – including the end of the government’s furlough scheme. On top of this, figures from the Felix Project revealed that one in three (4.1 million) children across the country are currently living in poverty, with an estimated 2.4 million living in households experiencing food insecurity.
Businesses and organisations across the nation have been urged to register to the #EndChildFoodPoverty map, with hundreds opening and offering holiday schemes or free meals to children as part of a broad campaign to tackle the issue. Rashford is calling on as many people as possible to register details of their offer via the following web form: bit.ly/ecfpform.
The Food Foundation has also released a series of podcasts over the past few months, introduced by Dame Emma Thompson. The podcasts, recorded all over the UK, tell the stories of people on the food bank frontline, including charities, and families facing startling levels of food insecurity. They have been recorded as part of the Right2Food campaign and feature the Young Food Ambassadors that also appear in the BBC documentary.