Deputy mayors visit school in free holiday meals programme

Left to right: Chief Executive at The Mayor’s Fund for London, Jim Minton, Deputy Mayor Debbie Weekes-Bernard, Felix Project representative, Jo Hayter, Head of Food and Communities at The Mayor’s Fund for London, Jade Harris, and Deputy Mayor Joanne McCartney. Pic: Greater London Authority.

London’s Deputy Mayors Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard and Joanne McCartney, visited a school during half term to see the mayor’s Free Holiday Meals programme in action. 

Manorfield Primary School in Poplar, Tower Hamlets hosted a Community Distribution event for parents, where the Deputy Mayors volunteered to give out food, supplies and recipe boxes. 

An estimated 400,000 meals will be given to families across London through Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London’s new scheme in a bid to support Londoners with the cost-of-living crisis. 

London’s Deputy Mayor for Communities and Social Justice, Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard said

“As the cost-of-living-crisis persists and household budgets are under ever-increasing pressure, the school holidays can be a challenging time for families. 

Today I was able to see firsthand how families are benefiting from the mayor’s investment. By extending this programme for another year, Sadiq is putting more money in parents’ pockets and ensuring hundreds of thousands of Londoners have a nutritious meal every day. 

This is a significant step towards building a fairer, healthier London for all.” 

Deputy Mayors Joanne McCartney (left) and Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard (right). Pic: Mayor of London.

A representative from Manorfield Primary School told Eastlondonlines, “During lockdown, we established great relationships with food charities and that has continued.  

We have a regular team of volunteers who make it happen every school holiday; it’s become part of the school timetable.  

It was lovely to have this effort acknowledged by the Deputy Mayors’ visits during half term.” 

In partnership with The Felix Project, an organisation dedicated to decreasing food waste, 11 million free meals have been distributed over school holidays and weekends to families across London since April of last year. 

The mayor is also planning to allocate £4m of his 2024/25 budget to continue the scheme. In addition to this, he’s hoping to spend an extra £140m funding to continue free school meals for the 2024/25 academic year for London Primary school children. 

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