November education update
Since my last blog a lot has been happening in the world of school catering!
Some Good News…
Marcus Rashford’s Campaign continued and his online petition went viral with around 1.1 million people supporting it. Despite this, and a debate in the House of Commons, the Government did not put in any holiday feeding provision for the October half-term holiday for the children entitled to a free school meal during term time. There were lots of ad hoc local arrangements to provide meals set up by well-meaning people across the country.
This became the main news and media story for days and quite a lot of Conservative MP’s were threatening to vote against the Government if it came back to Parliament. On Sunday 8th November the Government issued a press release which included the following:
- £170m Covid Winter Grant Scheme to support children, families and the most vulnerable over winter. This will be run by councils in England. The funding will be ring-fenced, with at least 80% earmarked to support with food and bills and will cover the period to the end of March. Local authorities will receive the funding at the beginning of December.
- Holiday Activities and Food programme to be expanded, covering Easter, summer and Christmas across England next year and cost up to £220 million. It will be available to children in every local authority in England.
Bidfood has been involved with meetings led by LACA to create a nutritious box of food and ingredients. I strongly recommend School Catering Managers push to get some of these funds from their local authorities (LA) for the Christmas Holidays to distribute nutritious parcels to these children. It already appears that some LA’s are intending to go to vouchers. I really don’t agree with this as sadly, some parents do not spend the vouchers on nutritious food.
An update on Brexit
It is now only 7 weeks until we leave the EU. “Deal or No Deal” is the question. I think that we are being given very little information on what is happening.
I hope that you have had the opportunity to read the recent Bidfood blogs from Tim Adams and Jim Gouldie. They are brilliant and update you on all the latest information around Brexit and also how Bidfood are preparing.
A thank you from me
To end my blog, I want to pay tribute to all the people involved in feeding our children at school during this difficult time. Although I am no longer working on the front line of school meals, I know that the commitment shown by the kitchen staff and the whole industry has been absolutely amazing. I also know that the staff at Bidfood have worked tirelessly to make sure that their customers have received the goods that they need to support.
17th November 2020