NELMA’s campaign calling on the government to provide free schools for all children who need them launched on 29 September 2018. Speaking in solidarity with the campaign, several local leaders have since publicly committed to help change the discriminatory rules that deny many children who are living in poverty a decent meal in school. This is happening because they have no access to benefits due to their parents’ immigration status.
THE “NO RECOURSE TO PUBLIC FUNDS” CONDITION IS KEEPING THOUSANDS OF CHILDREN, WHO NEED FREE SCHOOL MEALS, HUNGRY IN SCHOOL
Last October, The Hackney Citizen ran a local story on a national scandal— the government’s denial of free school meals to children who need them, based on their or their parents’ immigration status. Richard Brown, headteacher at Urswick School in Hackney, told the paper he hadn’t realised how many children at his school were going hungry until he discovered it “almost by accident” when the school threw a party with free food to celebrate their new Ofsted rating. Brown was surprised to see “[crowds of children] coming to eat who I’d never seen in the canteen before. The cooks that day told me they’d never made so much food.” This was Brown’s awakening to the fact that free school meals are a ‘public fund’, and that it takes more than a low income to qualify for them. In fact, children only get the opportunity to apply for free school meals if their parents already receive certain benefits. This means that families who cannot access these benefits– because they have what is known as “no recourse to public funds” as a part of their immigration status– are left out from free school meal provision in England.
Thanks so much to everyone who came to a picnic to launch our campaign: Lunch is not a luxury on Saturday 29th September.
We gathered lots of postcards to tell @educationgovuk why all children who need them should have access to free school meals, regardless of immigration status. #leftoutatlunch
Get in touch if you want some postcards to tell the Department of Education how you feel about their denial of free school meals to children – how it harms children who are already living in poverty, causes alienation, and bolsters systemic racism. NELMA is collecting these message to deliver to the Department.
Children from migrant families with ‘no recourse to public funds‘ are often unable to access free school meals. NELMA is launching a campaign calling for free school meals for all who need them, regardless of immigration status, and for schools to be adequately funded so that they can provide this.
Our campaign launch is a Picnic for Free School Meals on 29th September, and we would love to see you there! Continue reading “Picnic for Free School Meals! – Campaign Launch”
NELMA was invited to write an article for the Big Issue as part of the anti-Trump protests in the UK this past week. Here is a longer version of the article which was printed on July 10, 2018. Continue reading “After Trump’s child detention chaos, we must look more closely at Britain’s policies”
What does Lewisham mean to you?
Rest and recuperation in the sauna at Glass Mill Leisure Centre after an afternoon spent touring Britain’s oldest surviving prefabs?
Compulsory land purchases that ride rough shod over the wishes of the local community?
Since mid-2016 NELMA and others have been trying to hold Haringey Council to account for the local authority’s systematic poor treatment of destitute migrant families seeking social services support under s17 of the Children Act 1989. Continue reading “Two years of skimped-on promises, but some light as well. Let’s keep up the pressure for change over Haringey’s treatment of destitute migrant families!”