The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today announced an emergency funding package of more than £3.5m to help provide around 10m free meals during school holidays and at weekends to low-income Londoners struggling with the spiralling cost of living over the next year.
The Mayor is providing the new one-off funding to help expand the work of the Mayor’s Fund for London and The Felix Project, and help charities reach hundreds of thousands of struggling families and children of all ages with free nutritious meals in the next 12 months.
The London free holiday meals funding follows a historic announcement last month from the Mayor to provide an emergency £130m to provide free school meals to primary school children in London due to the cost of living.
Sadiq has repeatedly called on the Government to do more to tackle the spiralling cost of living and the challenge of children going hungry during school holidays, with recent GLA polling showing that half of Londoners are now either ‘financially struggling’ or ‘just about managing’.
The new funding from the Mayor will help children of all ages and their parents during the school holidays, with charities, schools and grassroots organisations helping to get them to those most in need through holiday food and activity schemes across the capital.
The funding includes £3.1m to the Mayor’s Fund for London and the Felix Project to expand their ready-made and cook-at-home meal provision during school holidays. The Mayor’s Fund provides free healthy meals to low-income families and young people through more than 340 community partners and 80 hubs where food is provided alongside a range of school holiday activities, while the Felix Project delivers surplus food from a range of suppliers to nearly 1,000 charity organisations and schools that support those in need.
It is estimated that around 6.9m additional meals will be provided from the new funding, with community partners targeting these meals at the areas of London most in need.
A further £425,000 is being provided to The Felix Project to expand its capacity, and allow it to deliver food on Saturdays, as well as during the week, throughout the whole year. This will enable around 100 new charitable organisations on their waiting list to be supplied with food, and help The Felix Project deliver an additional 20 tonnes of food every weekend, which will create around 2.5-3m meals over the next year.
The funding will help the charities reach those most in need in London, but the Mayor is clear that the Government also needs to step forward with the funding to ensure that even more children can access free school meals in the holidays – both in London and across the country.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The spiralling cost of living is hitting low-income Londoners particularly hard and it’s shocking so many people are struggling to put food on their table.
“I have repeatedly called on the Government to do more to help those in need and support families during the school holidays, but they have not provided the assistance that is urgently needed.
“That’s why I’m stepping in today with a major new emergency funding package that will provide around 10m free holiday meals to hundreds of thousands of Londoners most in need. I’m committed to doing all I can to support Londoners through this cost of living crisis and will continue to urge Ministers to step forward and do the same as we build a more prosperous London for all.”