Hounslow Council’s Lead Member for Education has been tackling the issue of free school meals over recent weeks.
Published: Thursday, 18th June 2020
Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Youth Services, Cllr Tom Bruce, has written a letter to Marcus Rashford thanking him for his intervention on the issue of free school meals during the holidays. Cllr Bruce wrote a letter on the same matter to the Department of Education in May.
Re: Summer Free School Meals for Young People
I wanted to write to you to express how deeply grateful I am for your timely intervention on the matter of free school meals for children and young people during the summer holidays. In this time of severe national and international crisis, there are a great many issues and areas of concern for our communities. All deserve our focus and attention, but in both a personal and professional capacity the greatest issue, and one that causes me most worry, is that of children going hungry over the summer holidays. It clearly is for you too.
I thought you spoke wonderfully well on Monday about your own personal experience growing up, and your obvious direct understanding for people who are currently going through what you did. I was very fortunate that this issue never directly affected me, however I did grow up in the very same community I serve as a councillor now and the factors that drove me to stand for election, education, inequality and poverty, are all factors that relate strongly with the issue of summer free school meals.
In the Guardian newspaper on Tuesday, Jonathan Liew wrote, “by reaching beyond the borders of football in an urgent and worthwhile cause, Rashford has demonstrated the power of the common resolve and common purpose.” I couldn’t agree more. To have recognised your current position of strength as a footballer for inciting change, to have been able to articulate it in the way that you did, and then to have forced such a rapid change in the government’s position, speaks volumes for you as a person. In doing so you have kept over a million children nationally, and many thousands of children in Hounslow, from going hungry.
Although I may not be cheering for you on the football pitch on Friday evening when Manchester United play ‘my club’ Tottenham Hotspur, joking aside, I certainly will continue to cheer this fantastic achievement and all that you have done to make it happen. On behalf of all young people and families in Hounslow, and across the country, I once again thank you.
Councillor Tom Bruce,
Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services.
Cllr Bruce has been tackling the issue of free school meals for a number of weeks and in May he wrote a letter to the Department of Education calling on calling on Gavin Williamson MP to provide free school meals during holidays. Read more here.