UK Youth Parliament launches their UK-wide campaign for Universal Free School Meals with a new partnership with Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG). This campaign was chosen by Members of Youth Parliament from an elected Social Action Group, and focuses the outcome of the UK Youth Parliament’s House of Commons sitting, when the cost of living and its impact on health and wellbeing was selected as the campaign theme for 2023. Make Your Mark 2022, which brought together the votes of over 434,000 young people, chose the initial focus of Health and Wellbeing.
A Spokesperson for the UK Youth Parliament said, “This partnership represents a tangible step in the direction towards universal free school meals.
“UK Youth Parliament welcomes the expertise of Child Poverty Action Group, who have long championed the benefits of free school meals for all children and young people. Together, we can work to ensure our message gets heard by those with the power to make a change.”
Child Poverty Action Group is not the first partnership we’ve made on our journey to universal free school meals. The British Youth Council recently became one of the first signatories on Sustain’s SAY YES campaign.
Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) works on behalf of the more than one in four children in the UK growing up in poverty. For over 50 years, the charity has worked to understand the impact of poverty on children and how it can be solved. CPAG recognises the value of universal free school meals in combatting hardship and stigma.
Over the last decade, CPAG has been instrumental in persuading governments across the UK to increase universal free school meal provision. Now, there is commitment in both Wales and Scotland for universal primary free school meals to be rolled out nationally in the coming years. Its ongoing Cost of the School Day programme helps school communities and local authorities to identify and overcome cost barriers that shape and limit children’s opportunities at school, including access to lunchtime meals.
In short, Child Poverty Action Group understands that access to a hot, balanced meal during the school day can make school life better and have a lasting impact on a child’s long-term prospects.
Of the partnership, Child Poverty Action Group’s CEO, Alison Garnham, said: “Child Poverty Action Group is delighted to be partnering with the UK Youth Parliament to promote the views and experiences of young people on such an important issue.
“We know universal free school meals would make a big difference to schoolchildren across the UK, and we hope our campaign, Food for Learning, is met with the right response.”
The campaign for Universal Free School Meals aims for all school-age children and young people in the UK to receive free school meals. Stay tuned for more information when the campaign launches on Thursday 9th March.