Yesterday, I contacted our area foodbanks in Redcar and Cleveland to offer my support and to gather information following the vote not to feed the country’s under privileged children over half term and Christmas. According to the Trussell group, half of their ‘customers’ are children between the ages of 5 and 11.
Our foodbank provider informed me that they have 10 tonnes of food now and are ready to support families, including those abandoned by the government after withdrawing the support and leaving those children to go hungry during this unprecedented time of crisis.
I contacted our council’s communication department by email, after trying the various phone numbers I have, to ask if they would advertise the foodbank’s support. I also wrote to the Education directorate to ask that all schools are contacted to get that message across to parent’s mail. As of this moment I have heard nothing back.
All morning today the 23rd of October, the brilliant and inspirational Marcus Rashford has been sending tweets from councils and food outlets across the country who are not abandoning these kids and families. They have risen up in direct contrast to this despicable government who have wasted multiple millions on dodgy contracts and equipment during this Coronavirus crisis. These fantastic administrations, businesses and meal providers aren’t willing to sit back and leave these families on the brink, to cope alone.
I waited until midday for our council to show leadership. I waited all morning for a reply that in the least we will supply details of the foodbank to get their message out. I waited in vain as the end of play Friday approached. I have written to the council leader Cllr Mary Lanigan to ask if there is indeed anything happening at all.
“All morning messages across this country from councils and food providers have been sent out in support of our low income families to ensure their children will not go hungry this half term. I had hoped we would see a message go out from this council on a similar tone but alas the residents of this borough has waited long enough and unfortunately I am compelled to prompt. If something is being done in the background please can you advise so we can get the message out.
“Following the government’s terrible decision not to support children and families at a time of crisis with the basic need of having food, is this council committing any support to provide meals to our children, who would normally qualify for school meals, during the half term and will you commit support over the Christmas period if this government has not reversed this cruel decision?
“Yesterday I wrote to Redcar & Cleveland comms requesting as minimum we advertise the support there is at our foodbanks on social media and I sent an email to our Education directorate requesting that schools be contacted to push that message to parents mail, so they are aware there is some safety net if it isn’t coming from this council.
“I appreciate the short notice but am now concerned that message may not get read or acted upon in time given the government vote was Wednesday evening. Alas, I have not yet received a reply and am concerned these children and families will be left to their own devices.
“Please can you confirm what actions you and our council are taking to help our families as Corporate Parents.”
I am waiting for a reply.
*Update* Comms sent out a fb and twitter message today (Friday 23/10/2020 around 1:30pm signposting parents to foodbanks.) The Council Leader replied with a question to the cabinet member for Children and Families but no offer of support came. I have sent my disappointment that we couldn’t step up like so many other councils. I have requested we send a joint letter to government to gain support over the Christmas period for these families.
I will keep you informed.
If you are struggling over half term please note the area foodbanks have asked me to pass on their message that food items are available through the half term. Yes there are checks but if you are struggling please contact them and find out the details. Locations, opening days & times and contact details are advertised on the link below. Be aware not all locations are open due to Covid restrictions and logistics.
I will be helping them out next week as required so please do contact me if I can help with mobility or other issues. My email is: