I am so angry I can’t sleep.
I am not prepared to sit back and allow the kids in this area to go hungry. Born into this generation I would be one of these kids. How do I reckon with that when I’m doing ok? How do they concentrate if they aren’t fed properly from one day to the next? We complain about youth who go out wrecking the place but then we don’t know how to provide the education they need, which isn’t just academic. It’s empathetic. Starving them won’t help, certainly not in an area as deprived as Redcar & Cleveland. The burden is passed onto teaching staff to get on with it. That isn’t right or fair. We must do more. We deserve better as human beings.
Things aren’t getting better. Where are the jobs coming from? Unemployment has increased by over 12,000 in the Tees Valley since March and is rising. UC which was enhanced is being reduced back down in April. Businesses and their employees that close right now receive no additional support. The no deal Brexit will ultimately have consequences on employment. The government have spent multiple millions on faulty tests and equipment. Regions’ leaders are having to negotiate a fair funding deal because the one they’re offered isn’t enough to support families. Councils are stripped of funding and support measures and will go into administration over time without fair funding.
And then there’s this to hammer the poorest and most vulnerable, our children. And then these Tories have the gall to stand in foodbanks and homeless charity offices smiling at the camera as if they’re doing some civic magic just with their presence. These places are required because of your failure and making an appearance but not doing anything about it is narcissistic, callous and cruel.
I was brought up on free school meals because my parents had very little. My mum ironed and cleaned for decades and my Dad who had been an electrician for many years, was riddled with rheumatism in his joints by the time I was at school age. He ended up chasing poorly paid agency work doing anything throughout his 40’s until old age. They both worked into their 70’s. Fortunately there was no McDonald’s where I lived in the 70’s for me to become obese and unhealthy. A few Wimpy’s but no cheap burgers to clog up my arteries.
Without those proper school meals, proper dinners not crap, I don’t know what effect that would have had on my life as a kid. My concentration. My health. My attitude. Watching others get fed? Being hungry? Feeling ashamed? How does a kid ask for help when their situation is embarrassing to them? Fortunately the only thing I had taken at school was the morning milk by the milk snatcher for a couple of years.
I’m not looking for solutions to these questions. I live in the real world not the ideal one. I’m not wanting a social debate about families and upbringing that divides people and makes us inward looking. I’ve no interest in being judgemental. Children play the hand they are dealt with the families, friends and personalities around them in their social economic bubble.
If the government won’t feed these children and families haven’t the means or wherewithal, then what’s left? We must do something to ensure kids aren’t left behind. And while we do, we must be loud about it. This government, these very well fed gluttonous Tories need to feel the shame they are creating.
Now I’ve got that off my chest I’m off to bed.
Oh and if you weren’t aware Labour has promised to provide free school meals for every primary school child in the UK. Night night.