Canterbury City Councillors have today written to Leader of Canterbury City Council, Ben Fitter-Harding asking him to join us in lobbying Kent County Council to provide free school meals for all eligible children this half term.
Please read our letter below and find links to a number of local charities and businesses services providing food and support at this time. This information is here if you need it and if you are able to donate to support their valuable to their important work.
Lily’s Bistro CIC, 15 Palace Street, Canterbury
Families can offer free food parcels through their website or pop in for a ‘pay it forward’ lunch. You can donate via PayPal by sending money to [email protected] or selecting ‘give a free meal’ on their online ordering platform.
Oasis Café, Watling Street, Canterbury
You can order from their menu for free or contribute to ensure others can over the counter.
The Hub Café, St Georges Place, Canterbury
A pay as you feel café with a community fridge. You can donate to this partnership between Lily’s Bistro and Canterbury Baptist here.
Make Lunch Canterbury North, St Johns Place, Canterbury
A lunch box project run by St Johns Primary School and City Church. You can donate to the work of City Church (its host).
Canterbury FoodBank, District Wide
Whitstable Umbrella Café, Oxford St, Whitstable
A pay as you feel café offering free frozen family meals through their Social Pantry. You can donate here.
Riverside Church, Thanet Way, Whitstable
A pay it forward café and Community Pantry project offering food parcels. You can donate here or over the counter.
Revival at the Horsebridge, Horsebridge Road, Whitstable
A café offering pay it forward. You can support their general work here or donate to pay it forward over the counter.
Café 89, Tankerton High Street
You can donate or make use of their pay it forward scheme over the counter
Dear Cllr Fitter Harding
Please join us in lobbying Kent County Council to immediately provide free school meals for eligible children over this October Half Term.
Child poverty is a stain on our society and holiday hunger a real concern for our residents. The National Children in Low Income Families measure reveals that there are 3,717 young people under the age of 16 in our district living in families with less than 60% of average incomes. More than 4 in every class of 30 children in our area (14%) who live in some measure of absolute poverty and this number is rising.
Feeding our children during this pandemic isn’t a party political issue it one of basic human decency. Neither of the MP’s who represent our district supported the government this week in opposing plans to extend free school meals and The Archbishop of Canterbury has described food vouchers as ‘vital’ to people who need them the most. As this pandemic evolves many are wondering why the government provided support for children in the summer but won’t do now at a time more parents find themselves out of work and the furlough is coming to an end.
We ask you to:
- immediately seek agreement from all Group Leaders and lobby Kent County Council to provide immediate support similar to Essex County Council, Medway and over twenty other local authorities across the county.
- make available the council’s website and social media channels to direct families struggling over the half term to places providing free food to local charities, social enterprises and businesses stepping up. This approach could also help direct local residents to where they can donate to support these efforts
- immediately explore whether there is any discretionary unallocated funding held by members or the council which can be directed to this effort.
We understand that money is tight in local government at the moment but ensuring that no child goes hungry is surely the very least we owe our people at this uncertain time.
Councillor Chris Cornell
on behalf of Councillors Alan Baldock, Jean Butcher, George Caffery, Chris Cornell, Mel Dawkins, Pat Edwards, Valerie Kenny, Connie Nolan, Dave Wilson (Canterbury Labour Group)
cc. Councillor Roger Gough, Leader of Kent County Council