Marcus Rashford urges ministers to guarantee free school meals over the summer holidays

Footballer Marcus Rashford has called for free school meals to be extended through the summer holidays.

The Manchester United star relied on free school meals as a child and that it would have made a ‘massive, massive difference’ to his family if they had been available during the summer months.

Rashford, 23, forced a Government U-turn on free school meal vouchers last summer, and his petition urging the Government to go further in tackling child hunger hit 100,000 signatures just 10 hours after it was launched.

Donations from Rashford and his fans have since funded the distribution of food equivalent to more than 21 million meals, with two-thirds going to children and families.

Footballer Marcus Rashford has joined calls for free school meals to be extended over the summer as he says it would have made a 'massive, massive difference' to him as a child

Footballer Marcus Rashford has joined calls for free school meals to be extended over the summer as he says it would have made a 'massive, massive difference' to him as a child

Footballer Marcus Rashford has joined calls for free school meals to be extended over the summer as he says it would have made a ‘massive, massive difference’ to him as a child

Speaking to the Mirror, the footballer said: ‘I definitely think it needs to be extended and the reason why I say that is, I’m just going back to what it was like for me in the summers.

‘When we were all in school or in high school, [my mum] can rest a little bit because she knows that we’re having a meal there, and then potentially she only has to worry about one meal, which is dinner time.

‘So having free school meals throughout summer holidays for me would have made a massive, massive difference.

‘And I feel like what’s happened this year, like the pandemic, it’s affected everyone in different ways.

‘I just don’t see there being anything wrong with extending free school meals, like it’s going to do a lot more good than bad so I definitely think that that should happen.’

Last month, the new children’s commissioner for England said she wanted to extend free school meals over the summer as she warned the pandemic has had a ‘profound impact’ on children.

Rashford (seen at FareShare in Manchester) partnered with the charity around the start of the first lockdown, concerned that school closures could lead to millions of pupils going hungry

Rashford (seen at FareShare in Manchester) partnered with the charity around the start of the first lockdown, concerned that school closures could lead to millions of pupils going hungry

Rashford (seen at FareShare in Manchester) partnered with the charity around the start of the first lockdown, concerned that school closures could lead to millions of pupils going hungry

Marcus Rashford visiting FareShare Manchester at New Smithfield Market last October

Marcus Rashford visiting FareShare Manchester at New Smithfield Market last October

Marcus Rashford visiting FareShare Manchester at New Smithfield Market last October

Dame Rachel de Souza said she wants to ‘rebuild childhood’ in the wake of the Covid crisis and likened the challenge to reconstructing the social security system after the Second World War.

The new children’s commissioner launched a ‘once-in-a-generation’ review to reach every child and identify any barriers preventing them from reaching their full potential amid the pandemic.

Rashford, 23, partnered with the food redistribution charity FareShare around the start of the first lockdown, concerned that school closures could lead to millions of pupils going hungry.

The charity takes food that cannot be sold in shops, for example due to packaging errors, a short shelf life or surplus stock.

It is given to thousands of organisations across the UK such as homeless hostels, school breakfast clubs, domestic violence refuges and food banks, which distribute meals to struggling families and individuals.

Earlier this month, the charity confirmed it has handed out the equivalent of 128.5 million meals in the year since March 23 2020 – more than double the number in the previous 12 months.

Rashford has said extending free school meals in the summer will 'do more good than bad'

Rashford has said extending free school meals in the summer will 'do more good than bad'

 Rashford has said extending free school meals in the summer will ‘do more good than bad’

Donations from Rashford and his fans have since funded the distribution of food equivalent to more than 21 million meals, with two-thirds going to children and families. 

It comes as Rashford announce he is teaming up with Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge to offer back-to-basics recipe ideas and culinary tips for low-income families to help tackle food poverty.

The Manchester United striker said he wanted the social-media based weekly tutorials – which will also feature famous faces from the worlds of sport, music and television – to inspire people to make easy but healthy meals on a budget.

His latest campaign, named Full Time: Get Cooking With Marcus And Tom, launches this Sunday coincides with the Government’s Healthy Start payment scheme, which supports low-income households with grocery shopping.

The duo’s 52 tutorials will be posted on Instagram every Sunday, and cover recipes including fish pie, Mexican-style chicken, and Rashford’s childhood favourite, spaghetti Bolognese, as well as lighter courses such as overnight oats and sandwiches.

Rashford, a self-confessed novice in the kitchen, will take part in around 20 video ‘how-to’ sessions, with celebrity guests such as broadcaster Fearne Cotton and fitness guru Joe Wicks among those substituting in to join Kerridge, 47.

Marcus Rashford (left) and chef Tom Kerridge (right), as they have joined forces to offer back-to-basics recipe ideas and culinary tips for low-income families to help tackle food poverty

Marcus Rashford (left) and chef Tom Kerridge (right), as they have joined forces to offer back-to-basics recipe ideas and culinary tips for low-income families to help tackle food poverty

Marcus Rashford (left) and chef Tom Kerridge (right), as they have joined forces to offer back-to-basics recipe ideas and culinary tips for low-income families to help tackle food poverty

Footballer Marcus Rashford

Footballer Marcus Rashford

Chef Tom Kerridge

Chef Tom Kerridge

The duo will share tutorials  every Sunday, and cover recipes including fish pie, and Rashford’s childhood favourite, spaghetti Bolognese, as well as lighter courses such as sandwiches

The pair said they were inspired to join forces due to their personal experiences of growing up in single-parent households on low incomes.

Rashford, 23, told reporters ahead of the launch: ‘Is it fair if people go hungry?

‘No it’s not, it’s unfair if somebody goes to sleep without eating a meal.

‘I want it to get to a stage where, worst case scenario, everybody has to be at least eating three meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner, that’s my aim.’

He said the Full Time campaign sought to dispel any fears of cooking for those with limited skills.

‘Sometimes a lot of people are afraid of mistakes (in the kitchen), so if a lot of kids engage with it then it will be a lot of fun,’ he said.

Drawing on memories of going hungry as a child, Rashford added: ‘I remember sometimes at school I would fall asleep – I just hadn’t eaten food, I wasn’t awake, so I would just literally fall asleep.

Marcus, who won a campaign forcing the Government to extend free school meal provision, said he wanted weekly tutorials to inspire people to make easy but healthy meals on a budget

Marcus, who won a campaign forcing the Government to extend free school meal provision, said he wanted weekly tutorials to inspire people to make easy but healthy meals on a budget

Marcus, who won a campaign forcing the Government to extend free school meal provision, said he wanted weekly tutorials to inspire people to make easy but healthy meals on a budget

‘So I can see how it has an effect on their ability to learn and concentrate in class.

‘Some of these kids may dream to be a scientist but imagine if they’re in science class but they’re always tired – I don’t want that to happen.’

Rashford said he wanted the initiative to help remove the sort of ’embarrassment’ his mother Melanie felt when using food banks, and described the stigma attached to state-funded programmes such as Healthy Start vouchers as ‘the most silly thing I’ve ever heard’.

Kerridge praised Rashford for his enthusiasm in the kitchen, and described the other household names taking part in Full Time as ‘a total mixed bag’ in terms of their culinary ability.

‘Some are pretty component, others used a bit of creative licence adding their own personal touches to the recipe which as a professional chef I absolutely love,’ Kerridge said.

‘I don’t care what level anyone is – just get in the kitchen and have some fun, it’ll all be fine and you’ll have something tasty to eat – what I can say is Joe Wicks is on the same page as me concerning pineapple and pizza.’

Healthy Start vouchers equate to £4.25 per child under the age of four each week to spend on items such as fruit, vegetables and pulses – ingredients celebrity chef Kerridge said are fundamental to the Full Time campaign’s recipes.

Kerridge, well known for his two Michelin-star Hand And Flowers in Marlow, told reporters: ‘Normally the audience I reach out to is a foodie audience, they already know how to do things, they just want to improve.

‘This is like learning to ride a bike – right at the beginning, with stabilisers – it’s learning peeling carrots, peeling potatoes, dicing onions, it isn’t making tagines or braising beef briskets.’

He said there was ‘no silver bullet that solves the issue’ of food poverty, but added: ‘What we are trying to do is encourage those who are in that more disadvantaged area … to get more for their money.’

Recipes will be posted weekly on the @FullTimeMeals Instagram page. The first one goes live on April 25.

Link hienalouca.com

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