How Norwich is backing Marcus Rashford’s free school meal campaign

Gail Harris, Labour's candidate for Catton Grove in the Norwich City Council 2012 elections.

Gail Harris, Labour's candidate for Catton Grove in the Norwich City Council 2012 elections. - Credit: Sid Frisby

From gestures of good will to protests and public money, Norwich is answering the call of England international footballer Marcus Rashford to prevent children going hungry over the school holidays.

City councillor Karen Davis has said the foodbank she helps run saw a big boost in donations over th

City councillor Karen Davis has said the foodbank she helps run saw a big boost in donations over the weekend Picture: Ella Wilkinson - Credit: Archant

After the government voted against proposals to extend free school meal vouchers in the holidays to Easter 2021, the Manchester United striker rekindled his campaign from the summer which successfully brought about a u-turn from Westminster in June and saw him made an MBE for his efforts.

And has latest efforts have earned the support of Norwich City Council, which has pledged to donate £10,000 to charitable causes helping to provide for hungry children in the city area.

The Labour-run council has promised to pump the five-figure sum into existing food networks in the city, splitting the funding between various organisations which already distribute emergency food parcels and similar offerings.

Gail Harris, the council’s deputy leader, said: “This money will be given to an established network of charitable and voluntary food providers across the city to put towards the cost of providing free meals, outside of the school term, to those eligible for free school meals.

Empty plates left outside the Conservative headquarters in Norwich in support of Marcus Rashford's s

Empty plates left outside the Conservative headquarters in Norwich in support of Marcus Rashford's school meals campaign. Picture: Lynda Groves - Credit: Lynda Groves

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“We wanted to take this opportunity to play our part in ensuring those most in need are given access to food during the half term break.”

Elsewhere in the city, foodbanks have seen a rise in donations as a result of the campaign, with one in particular having received more than £900 in donations over the weekend alone following the government’s decision.


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Karen Davis, a city councillor who helps run the NR2 foodbank in Norwich, said: “The level of generosity we have had is just incredible, we’ve been able to send out £980 of Aldi vouchers to people who need our help and are doing everything we can to make sure no child goes hungry.”

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. Pic

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. Picture: Michael Regan/PA Wire/PA Images - Credit: PA

Meanwhile, protesters left a crystal clear message to the government outside of the Christ Church Centre on Magdalen Road in the city - the headquarters of the Norwich Conservative group.

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On Wednesday, dozens of empty plates were left outside of the building bearing messages of support for the striker’s campaign, calling on the government to reconsider its decision.

For information about the food network, visit www.lumi.org.uk/covid-19

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