Manchester United star Marcus Rashford has forced the U.K. government into a major back down, forcing them to provide free school lunches for underprivileged children for the summer holidays.
Rashford had launched a passionate campaign across social media, which will benefit more than 1.3 million children in England with free school meal vouchers. After pressure from U.K. celebrities and politicians, Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed he would continue to fund the scheme. A one-off six-week food voucher will be distributed to families to be used in supermarkets around the U.K.
Rashford tweeted his delight at a major win, at a time when the poorer communities in the U.K. are struggling with the effects of COVID-19.
“I don’t even know what to say. Just look at what we can do when we come together, THIS is England in 2020,” Rashford tweeted.
Rashford’s campaign included an open letter to all U.K. MPs highlighting the devastating consequences of the Conservative Government’s decision to not extend the food voucher program.
The widespread support from across the U.K. forced the British Prime Minister to bow down to public demands for the scheme to continue. Johnson personally called Rashford to thank him for his campaign.
“We have to understand the pressures families are under right now and that’s why we’ve responded as we have,” Johnson said.
Rashford spoke of his personal experiences of fighting food poverty during his youth, with his mother struggling to put food on the table.
“Maybe if someone had spoken about it when she was going through it then the situation would’ve been different. I think she’s just happy people are aware of it now and people are going to try and help them as much as they can. She’s just happy that we’re taking steps in the right direction.”
The Manchester United forward will be back on the field this week when his side clashes with Tottenham Hotspurs and former boss Jose Mourinho.