Sadiq Khan: Free school meals funding for low-income Londoners announced by the mayor

The mayor’s funding will deliver free school meals to low-income Londoners for 12 months, starting in Easter.

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Sadiq Khan has announced £3.5m in emergency funding to provide free school meals for low-income Londoners struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.

The Mayor’s Office has said the funding will deliver around 10 million meals to families across the capital starting this Easter, with the scheme due to run for the next 12 months.

Delivered in partnership with The Felix Project, £3.1m of the allocation will go towards enabling the charity and the Mayor’s Fund for London to expand their ready-made and cook-at-home meal provision during the school holidays.

The Mayor’s Fund provides free healthy meals through more than 340 community partners and 80 hubs, while The Felix Project, which has locations around London, delivers surplus food to almost 1,000 charities and schools.

The remaining £425,000 is to go directly to The Felix Project, supporting it to grow its capacity and deliver food on Saturdays, in addition to during the week.

This will provide 100 charities on The Felix Project’s waiting list with food, and enable a further 20 tonnes of food to be delivered every weekend.

All primary school children in London will receive free school meals during the 2023-24 academic year. Credit: Getty ImagesAll primary school children in London will receive free school meals during the 2023-24 academic year. Credit: Getty Images
All primary school children in London will receive free school meals during the 2023-24 academic year. Credit: Getty Images

Mr Khan said the cost-of-living crisis is hitting low-income Londoners “particularly hard”, adding that it is “shocking so many people are struggling to put food on their table.”

“I’m committed to doing all I can to support Londoners through this cost-of-living crisis and will continue to urge ministers to step forward and do the same as we build a more prosperous London for all,” he said.

Charlotte Hill OBE, chief executive at The Felix Project, said: “We know many parents are struggling to afford to put food on the table and rely on school food banks to top up their weekly shop, alongside free school meals for those who are eligible.

“When schools are closed families face increased costs and more stress trying to make sure they have enough to feed their children. That is why it is vital food provision continues during school holidays.

“We are delighted to receive this incredible support from the Mayor of London and be working with the Mayor’s Fund for London so we can provide this lifeline for the next year. I hope it will help low-income families to reduce the ever-increasing pressure on their budgets.”

Jim Minton, chief executive at the Mayor’s Fund for London, said: “The Mayor’s Fund for London has partnered with community organisations and local authorities for many years to provide holiday meals and activities.

“This new funding is a lifeline for thousands of young Londoners and their families, and will ensure that there is food available during every holiday period; including provision of recipe boxes for families, resources and nutritional information – as well as signposting to wider cost-of-living support.

“We’re delighted to be working with The Felix Project to include surplus food to help eliminate food waste. The Mayor’s investment will help deliver year-round support at a time when London’s families need it most.”

The funding follows the mayor’s announcement in February, in which he allocated £130m to deliver free school meals to primary school children in London for the 2023/24 academic year.