Marcus Rashford has set up a task force and called on the government for further assistance as part of a campaign to ease child food poverty in the United Kingdom.
The Manchester United star lobbied successfully to have the free school meal voucher scheme extended to cover the summer months and help families hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
The England international also partnered with charity FareShare and helped to raise £20million to provide free meals to vulnerable families. He was rewarded with an honorary doctorate from the University of Manchester and given a Special Recognition Award by the High Sheriff of Manchester, Dr Eamonn O’Neal, for “outstanding activity and contribution to the community”.
Rashford, who has spoken of his own experiences of relying on the voucher scheme as a child, has brought together a group of supermarkets, businesses and charities to further the fight against child poverty.
The 22-year-old has written to MPs and called for funding to widen the free school meals scheme to support an extra 1.5million children between seven and 16, expand holiday food and activities for an extra 1.1m children, and increase the value of certain food vouchers to reach a further 290,000 children under four and pregnant women.
The task force hopes the latest campaign will be “a unifying step to identifying a long-term solution to child poverty in the UK”.
“We had to think about the best way to do it, to think about how these families can eat long term and not have any issues,” Rashford told the BBC.
“We wanted to do it the best way we could, introduce the best people into our group, and see if using them [we] can push it even more.
“I feel like at times people think they are being looked down on if they ask for help, and I think in this generation… that is something that should change.
“You should feel free if you want to ask for help for anything. Hold your head up high and if you need help go and get help.”
For the millions who don’t have the platform to be heard…
— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) September 1, 2020