The Children First Alliance was delighted when, following the boost given by the intervention of Marcus Rashford and the appearance of Baroness D'Souza on the Jeremy Vine Show on Radio 2, PM Boris Johnson announced an extension of the school food replacement scheme across the summer holidays.
A cause for celebration indeed, but the Alliance is pushing on for a permanent arrangement so that no child goes hungry when schools are closed. Using the hashtag #schoolmeals365, a letter writing campaign is underway.
The idea is for as many people as possible, but especially young people, to write handwritten letters to Robert Halfon MP, the chair of the Education Select Committee. Mr Halfon was very vocal in his support of the campaign for Summer 2020, and is thought to be sympathetic to the idea of a permanent solution.
The Children First Alliance has been working with the London branch of the UK Youth Parliament, who have thrown their enthusiasm and support behind this latest campaign. Many young people have never written a letter by hand before and it is hoped that the novelty of sackfuls of snail mail will draw attention to the campaign and stiffen the resolve of Mr Halfon and his committee.
The guidelines for joining the campaign are below. Please feel free to throw your own weight and enthusiasm behind the campaign!
Write by hand a letter to Robert Halfon MP. It can be small, with pictures, a full page or more, it can be personal – showing a story about how having free school meals has helped you, a friend, your family. It can be signed by multiple people. There are links to some examples below.
You can write multiple letters. Send one to your own MP. Send to all or just a few members of the education select committee and Robert Halfon. Send one to the PM or any other significant person in parliament/the government.
Make sure you place your letter on social media. You don't need to add any personal details on the letter you show – your first name and town and possibly age only. No need to give significant details such as your address on your letter if posting online.
Use the hashtag #schoolmeals365
Robert Halfon MP's postal address for the letter is; House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA.
The Members of the Education Select Committee have the same address. Each member can be found here but their names are: Apsana Begum, Dawn Butler, Jonathan Gullis, Tom Hunt, Dr Caroline Johnson, Kim Johnson, David Johnston, Ian Mearns, David Simmons and Christian Wakeford.
Your MP's address can be found here.
Take a photo of your letter and post it online on all platforms with the hashtag #schoolmeals365 and you can add the Children First Alliance @Ch1stAlliance. You might want to add significant other people such as Robert Halfon MP @halfon4harlowMP or celebrities such as Marcus Rashford @MarcusRashford in your online posts.
Put your letter in an envelope, or put lots of peoples’ letters into one envelope to save postage and then place a stamp on it, take it to a letter box or a post office and post!
Get as many friends and relations to do the same.
~ Guidance for the letter writing campaign issued by the Children First Alliance