South Tyneside Student Takes Campaign to Westminster
A South Tyneside teenager will be heading to the Houses of Commons this week to promote a campaign around free school meals.
Luke Hall, South Tyneside's Member of the Youth Parliament, is working with the British Youth Council on their 'Food for Learning' bill which campaigns to extend free school meal eligibility. He is also working with Bite Back, a youth-led activist movement advocating for a better food system.
Luke said: "This is an issue close to my heart. The threshold for free school meals is set so low that many families are struggling to give their children healthy meals at lunchtime.
"All primary school children in London now receive a free school meal but this has simply widened the inequality between the capital and other parts of the country."
While at the House of Commons Luke will lead a debate, outlining the key elements of the Food for Learning Bill which has been drafted by young people around the country.
Councillor Adam Ellison, Lead Member for Children and Families' Social Care, said: "By shining a light on food insecurity, this campaign is highlighting the very real problems that so many families in our Borough are facing.
"We know that people who are struggling financially are slipping through the net and some children are not getting the healthy lunch they deserve.
"Luke is to be commended for his passion and commitment to such an important cause. He clearly sees the difference that extending the eligibility for free school meals could make to his peers and communities."
Councillor Jane Carter, Lead Member for Education and Skills, added: "We know that access to a hot and nutritious meal at lunchtime improves young people's wellbeing and concentration and can help them do better at school.
"We want all our residents to be healthy throughout their lives so Luke is to be commended for his work on such a crucial campaign and for taking it to the heart of Westminster."