Tax on Sugary Drinks Used to Target Children's Health

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10 Feb 2017 --- Funds are being allocated by the Children’s Health Fund, launched in 2015 by food and farming charity Sustain and funded by a voluntary 10p ($0.20) levy on drinks with added sugar in over 134 of the UK’s leading restaurants, cafes and coffee shops.

The Fund have announced that it has made awards to 8 organizations around the UK that will help run activity clubs that provide food during the school holidays. We believe that no child should go hungry, and we recognize that for some children during the school holidays there is a vital food provision gap that needs filling. We believe that ultimately, Government need to play a role alongside efforts from voluntary organizations and businesses trying to tackle this. We hope that the experiences of those projects we are supporting will help inform the work of those who are looking to tackle holiday hunger across the UK.

There are approximately 170 non-school days in the year in the UK that Free School Meal (FSM) pupils cannot access their entitlement to a school lunch, which is often the only regular hot meal that is available to them during term time. There is also recognition that increased pressure on some families to provide meals for children over the holiday periods places an additional burden on already stretched household budgets. This means that many families struggle to make sure children have access to play and leisure opportunities over the summer and many working families struggle to afford the extra childcare cost that school holidays bring.

Professor Mike Rayner, Chair of the Children’s Health Fund Board said: “The Children’s Health fund is funding projects that are tackling these issues because we believe that access to tasty, healthy and sustainably produced food throughout the year is important for all children.”

In December 2014 the All Party Parliamentary Group on School Food set up a Task Group to look at the issue of Holiday Hunger and try and find out more about it. The task group found that while good food is absolutely essential to children’s wellbeing and the vital community support families need it is the additional activities and services being offered at holiday meal provision sites that can often help tackle child poverty effectively at a front line level.

Alison Blayney, Director at Kilcooley Women’s Centre, Northern Ireland, said “This grant award will make a real impact here in Kilcooley where children’s health is a major concern, particularly around dental health and diet.”

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