London Children’s Food Insecurity Briefing & #Right2Food Charter

Key findings

1 in 6

children in London experience food insecurity

Stigma

surrounding Free School Meals can be tackled by renaming them as a School Meal Allowance

A new

independent Children's Food Watchdog with young people involved in leadership should be established.

The Children’s #Right2Food briefing looks at the scale and nature of children’s food insecurity in London.

Building on the work done by the UK-wide Children’s Future Food Inquiry, the report profiles the views and experiences of young people in London and puts forward their London Children’s #Right2Food Charter, which identifies policy priorities from the national Charter and makes recommendations for their practical application in the capital. Trust for London funding has enabled young people to be directly involved in the inquiry.

Key recommendations

Action from national government

  1. It's right that we have a say in what we eat
    We think there needs to be a new, independent Children’s Food Watchdog, with young people involved in the leadership, to monitor and improve our food in the UK.
  2. All children need a healthy lunch to grow and thrive, whether in nursery or school, term time or holidays, and especially if times are tough at home
    Free nursery meals should be provided to children who are entitled to free childcare.
    We should be moving towards universal free school meals for all primary and secondary school pupils in England so that every school- age child gets a healthy lunch, including children with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF).
    The government should support annual funding for the National School Breakfast Programme to ensure all children can access good quality nutritious meals and no child starts the day too hungry to learn.
    The cost of healthy food should be legally recognised and used to set benefit and wage levels.
  3. Holiday provision programmes should be expanded, and must be educational, fun and provide access to healthy food as a right for all young people
    Building on the work done by the Mayor's Fund for London Kitchen Social holiday provision programme, the government should devolve holiday provision to ensure a high-quality, inclusive and consistent offer can be sustainably delivered across all 33 London boroughs.

Action from the Mayor of London

  1. School and nursery food should be monitored to ensure it meets school food standards. The free school meal allowance is already insufficient - we shouldn't be spending it on bottled drinking water
    The Mayor must provide funding to sustain and strengthen the Healthy Early Years London and Healthy Schools London awards schemes, both of which require early years settings and schools to meet Early Years Foundation and School Food Standards (including the provision of free and readily accessible drinking water at all times) in order to achieve accreditation. Investment in these schemes should support boroughs to:
    > Engage all schools and settings, especially those in areas of deprivation
    > Work with school leadership teams to secure buy-in for the schemes
    > Rigorously assess school food standards.
  2. Every school-age child should get a healthy lunch
    Until Universal Free School Meals are introduced, the Mayor should support local authorities and schools to provide Free School Meals for children with NRPF.
    Repeat the Survey of Londoners in 2022 to measure progress in London at a local level.

Action from London's local authorities

  1. Stop the stigma
    We think there needs to be a new, independent Children’s Food Watchdog, with young people involved in the leadership, to monitor and improve our food in the UK.
    Rename Free School Meals as the ‘School Meal Allowance’.
  2. Ensure we have access to our free school meal allowance in full, and that we can use it when we need it
    Local authorities must work with schools so that the Free School Meal allowance is carried over when we don’t spend all of the allocation in one day.
Download report

London Children’s Food Insecurity Briefing & #Right2Food Charter

Full report 6.9 MB Executive summary 5.2 KB

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