Marcus Rashford-inspired scheme ensures no Downham Market child will go hungry
The Downham Market No Child Goes Hungry scheme, inspired by Marcus Rashford’s national efforts, was unveiled yesterday and met with a ‘huge’ response, according to one of the project’s leads Frances Rayner.
The winter scheme is designed to ‘fill the gaps the Government has missed’ and funds are being raised to prolong the project as the pandemic fallout becomes apparent.
Frances has helped build the project since October and spent the Christmas period delivering food parcels around Downham.
She said: “It’s important not to judge, that 20 per cent drop in income on the furlough scheme can cause a huge loss for families in the area. Also those who are self employed have suffered, the government appears to have nothing in place for these families and they fall through the gap.”
Since the start of the 2021 lockdown Frances said: “We were thinking this might happen back in December, and were all in agreement that something should take place.
"We are offering a breakfast and lunch in addition to support these families may already be getting, in some cases sadly, the government support is not enough.
"We are taking a holistic approach to the issue, as it’s not only food but many other problems these families are facing during the pandemic, we are hoping for a grant to extend the scheme to recruit someone into a full time position. This won’t be over in a few months.”
During October half-term, when the plug was pulled on the voucher scheme, Frances, Alex Coates from the Downham food bank, Anna Foster, of the Swan project, and parent Harriet Tunnicliff, formed a unit to provide a service that the Downham area was lacking.
Starting from a Facebook plea on a local page the project has blossomed with support from local businesses such as Arbuckles, Jacks, Accent Fresh, Run DMC and even supermarket giant Morrison’s.
The group has shared this message following the announcement of a third lockdown: “We know that there are many families struggling due to furlough, lack of financial support due to being self-employed, redundancy, low income and generally struggling to make ends meet.
"We will review all children on a case by case basis.
"Due to the huge support we had at Christmas we do have enough funds to keep the scheme running for five to six weeks but this will depend on how many children access the scheme.
"We do need to appeal for further help. The food parcel that we will be providing is mainly fresh foods.The cost is approximately £7.50 per child/per week."
A list of items are: Breakfast cereal - Milk, bread, butter, cheese, yoghurts, apples, cucumber, crisps, squash.
To help the project or you would like to volunteer contact firstname.lastname@example.org