Shadwell Responds Takes Action!
Our campaign to make it possible to use Free School Meal vouchers at Iceland supermarket
CAMPAIGN UPDATE 29.06.20
On Monday 29th June, we found out the wonderful news that Iceland have been added to the Government's Free School Meals voucher scheme. This will make a huge difference to the lives of families in Shadwell, where the campaign started, and families all over the UK. We are DELIGHTED, and want to thank everyone who signed our petition and took part in our campaign, in whatever way.
This victory goes to show the power of people acting together. Whatever the issue - building relationships, working together and persisting, pays off! https://www.fenews.co.uk/press-releases/50363-iceland-joins-free-school-meal-national-voucher-scheme-minister-comment
You can find out more about how you can access the summer voucher scheme and other food options over the summer holidays in Shadwell, here.
CAMPAIGN UPDATE 28.05.20
We are celebrating an early victory in our campaign!!
Eight days after we sent our video to Rt. Hon Gavin Wiliamson (28 May), the Government changed their guidance, allowing schools to develop their own voucher schemes which could include stores like Iceland.
The Government’s updated guidance says that schools can now support children eligible for free school meals, who are staying at home, by ‘providing alternative vouchers for a local shop or supermarket’. This is an additional option to the previous guidance that schools could use the Government’s centrally funded voucher scheme, or provide food parcels to families through existing providers, and in the guidance the Government offer to reimburse schools up to a certain amount.
Fr Richard Springer , a member of the Shadwell Responds team said "This seems to be a significant concession from the Government, and we will be keeping up the pressure to ensure that this leads on to a workable solution for local families who want to use their vouchers in more affordable stores."
We will continue to wait for a formal response from Gavin Williamson, and to work with our friends in Citizens UK chapters across the UK to push for the voucher scheme to be extended over the summer holidays and ensure that no child is left hungry.
CAMPAIGN UPDATE 20.05.20
We have now produced a video letter calling on Rt Hon Gavin Williamson MP to add Iceland to the Free School Meal Scheme. The video includes local representatives from all our institutions, a song from St Paul's Whitechapel Choir Church, and video messages from:
Bishop Joanne Grenfell (Church of England Bishop of Stepney)
Mayor John Biggs (Mayor of Tower Hamlets)
Apsana Begum MP (MP for Poplar and Limehouse)
Cllr Rachel Blake (Deputy Mayor of Tower Hamlets)
Cllr Rabina Khan (Cllr for Shadwell)
Please watch the video here, and do share it as far and wide as you can...
CAMPAIGN UPDATE 15.05.20
We have written to Rt Hon Gavin Williamson MP asking them to ensure Edenred establish technology that would make it possible for Iceland and other affordable supermarkets to receive free school meal vouchers.
CAMPAIGN UPDATE 07.05.20
We have had a response written on behalf of the Chief Executive of Iceland to our letter and petition.
"Sir Malcolm Walker, David Devany and Iceland fully share your disappointment that Iceland is unable to participate in the Government’s free school meal voucher scheme. We were surprised when the Department for Education’s original list of participants omitted not just Iceland, but all the other discount retailers where parents whose children are entitled to free school meals are most likely to shop."
Petition to Malcom Walker, CEO of Iceland, to ask Iceland to please join the Government’s National Free School Meal vouchers scheme.
We are calling for this on behalf of eight local institutions, representing over 2000 people in Shadwell. Many of our members rely on free school meals in order to feed their families. During the Coronavirus lockdown, free school meals have been made available via a voucher scheme where eligible families can download a voucher and use it to do their shop at one of the stores in the scheme.
Most of the local families who rely on free school meals normally shop at our local branch of Iceland in Watney Market, since it is the nearest and cheapest option. However, because Iceland is not a member of the scheme, these families are now forced to shop elsewhere at more expensive supermarkets and the local premium stories (Tesco Metro, and Sainsburys local). Waitrose is the nearest designated store, which is completely unaffordable many of our local families.
As a local store providing affordable food for the poorest in our community, we want to continue to support Iceland.
We are therefore calling upon Iceland to sign up to the government scheme in order to allow these families that are struggling to make their money go further, and we know that you have the power to do this.
We are members of the national charity Citizens UK – a community organising alliance of 450 civil society organisations (churches, schools, mosques, synagogues etc) working together to tackle the injustices in our society. We know this is an issue which is affecting our members right across the country.
We thank Iceland for providing an affordable local food outlet and continuing to support this community despite the demands of the current crisis and welook forward to working with Iceland to make sure families on restricted income are able to take advantage of your affordable prices. We want to make sure no-one in Shadwell, or anywhere in the UK goes hungry.
We need as many local people as possible to support us. Sign and share our petition here.