'Stop this travesty' - South Shields MP on £50,000 drive for Feeding Britain to stop children going hungry in the school holidays

A South Tyneside MP is on a race against time to raise £50,0000 to beat school holiday hunger.

By Gareth Crickmer
Thursday, 30th May 2019, 1:54 pm
Emma Lewell-Buck at a Feeding Britain event last year
Emma Lewell-Buck at a Feeding Britain event last year

Emma Lewell-Buck is appealing for donors to help her reach the fundraising landmark before the start of the school summer holidays in July.

The South Shields Labour MP says the cash will be used by Feeding Britain, the charity she helped found which is racing to raise the windfall.

Money donated will be spent on meals and activity clubs for youngsters in South Tyneside and four other English districts.

In South Tyneside, funds will help partner organisations run community gardening, arts and crafts, environmental projects, games and educational activities.

Mrs Lewell-Buck, who is also a Feeding Britain trustee, said three million children nationally were estimated to live in households that struggled to feed them outside of term time.

She added: “Many people still can’t comprehend that in one of the richest countries in the world the UK has millions of hungry children, but we do.

“The lack of school meals in the summer holidays only exacerbates this travesty. The detrimental effects of holiday hunger on children’s emotional and physical well-being is well documented.

“These holiday clubs are a great way for children and their families to come together over the summer holidays, have a nutritious meal, have fun and learn.

“I hope people will donate what they can to help us make sure these summer holidays are memorable for children for the right reasons.”

Feeding Britain aims to provide nutritious meals, and children will be encouraged to get involved with cooking, growing food and other food-related activities – with scope for some family involvement.

Mrs Lewell-Buck said evidence showed hunger during the summer months may exacerbate inequalities that already exist between children from wealthier and poorer backgrounds.

She insisted children most at risk also suffer from social isolation, loneliness, and inactivity, factors which could lead to significant weight loss or gain, and negative impacts on physical and mental wellbeing.

The crowdfunding campaign will also support Feeding Britain’s networks across Barnsley, Coventry, Derbyshire and Leicester, but donations can be made specifically to South Tyneside.

In South Tyneside, residents have rallied around previous projects by donating their time as volunteers, equipment, training and food supplies as well as supporting funding bids for projects.

Feeding Britain was established in 2015, in response to concerns of a cross-party group of MPs about rising levels of hunger in the UK.

The charity works to combat hunger in towns, cities and counties around the UK, through 12 local Feeding Britain pilots.

These are coalitions of local organisations - charities, community groups, local authorities, social enterprises and others - who take joint action to help eliminate hunger and its root causes in their communities.