Wearside MP helps launch national report on how to stop children going hungry in school holidays

MP for Washington and Sunderland West Sharon Hodgson visiting the breakfast club at Town End Farm Academy, Sunderland.

MP for Washington and Sunderland West Sharon Hodgson visiting the breakfast club at Town End Farm Academy, Sunderland.

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A Sunderland MP has today backed the launch of a national report outlining ways of preventing thousands of children going without food during holiday times.

Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West and chairman of the all-party Parliamentary Group for School Food, has welcomed the Holiday Hunger Task Group’s report, Filling the Holiday Gap Update, report, which is published this morning.

In the lead-up to the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review on Wednesday, November 25, the task group has published the report giving a snapshot into some of the best holiday provision projects and research currently seen across the UK.

The report calls on the Government to provide funding for the development of holiday food provision programmes and carry out research into the scale of child hunger in the UK and its effect on learning.

The Holiday Hunger Task Group was formed in December and brings together academics, organisations and individuals who are keen to address the issue.

Mrs Hodgson said: “The social injustice of child holiday hunger is an issue which has historically failed to be addressed by government and we know that this lack of any concerted effort to address this issue is holding the next generation back from achieving their full potential.

“That is why since the creation of the Holiday Hunger Task Group last year, it has been wonderful to see the group achieve some ground-breaking and influential work in raising awareness of the issue of child holiday hunger and bringing together best practice and research from across the country into how best we address this pertinent issue.

“I welcome the testimonies from all those involved in this report and I hope that this update will provide the necessary vehicle for my fellow Members of Parliament and Government Ministers to support the Task Group’s desire to work towards seeing no child go hungry during the school holidays.”

Lindsay Graham, chairman of the Holiday Hunger Task Group, said: “I am staggered that we are in 2015 and the UK wide issue of children going without their daily free school meal, their right to play, socialise, be safe and achieve is being denied.

“I commend the work of those individuals and organisations supporting children and their families with food and activities in a safe community environment. Christmas is looming and for many we met this summer it will not be a time of celebration.

“I hope that the policy makers will actually read the testimonies in this report and help change the way we deliver services. This issue cannot be addressed by one sector alone and that is why we are looking to government to support our call for research, funding and policy that can help close this inequality gap.”