Communities in Cambridgeshire and Milton Keynes step in to feed disadvantaged children in the school holidays

  • Watch Matthew Hudson's report here

Communities across the region have stepped in to feed disadvantaged children over the school holidays amid growing anger over the government's refusal to extend free school meals.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing mounting pressure from former ministers and some Tory MPs to reverse the move, following a campaign led by footballer Marcus Rashford. 

From businesses donating food to individuals giving up their time to cook, many have pledged to help those most in need.

In Milton Keynes, cafe owner Barry Ashley has been busy preparing packed lunches for local kids.

Milton Keynes cafe owner Barry Ashley preparing the lunches Credit: ITV News Anglia

It came from what happened in parliament last week, where not just as MPS but these human beings, they are queueing up to vote for a child to go hungry, how is that right? It's wrong. I mean you've got the eat out to help out that's fantastic, and now you've got save a quid starve a kid, it's just so wrong.

Barry Ashley, Owner, The Grumpy Cook's Cafe

Volunteer helpers at Soham Town Rangers FC are providing hot meals for youngsters free of charge throughout half-term.

I do feel it's very important. Obviously there's a gap and there's a lot of talk about it at the moment. Football is very high-profile with what Marcus Rashford's done and we've just stepped in for our town to say thank you for those who came up here to support us.

Mark Goldsack, Chairman, Soham Town Rangers
Volunteers at the Soham Town Rangers FC serving free half-term meals Credit: ITV News Anglia

There are hungry children in our most affluent communities. Cambridge Food Bank has been providing food for large numbers of struggling families throughout the pandemic

It's being asked for more and more help from right across the city.

Cambridge food bank Credit: ITV News Anglia

We've seen an increase in the number of families coming to the food bank the last few months and particularly from wards that we don't normally see a large demand for the food bank.

Margaret Saner, CEO, Cambridge Food Bank

Read more about free school meals using the links below: