We are the Legendary Community Club a food provision service in Lewisham, and we are calling on all community members who can, to give £5 to help provide emergency food provision for young people in London whose families are experiencing food poverty.
We provide after school food for young people attending Youth First Clubs in Lewisham as well as food parcels for young people and their families from specific schools in Lewisham and Tower Hamlets. We are continuing to support these families in term time and the holidays.
£50 raised will be able to feed 45 children
£100 raised will be able to feed 90 children
£1000 raised will be able to feed 909 children
There is power in our community. Join us.
Why are families experiencing hardship?
Despite the government's U-turn on extending the funding for free school meals over the summer holidays, hundreds of families who needed support were not entitled to the scheme. Young people who used to rely on school breakfast clubs and sports clubs for meals in term-time, and those recently impacted by the financial costs of COVID-19 (which are only increasing), are more likely to go hungry and become malnourished as school and sports clubs are forced to close or reduce their services over the summer and beyond. This will have both physiological and psychological impacts on the children and their families.
Child poverty rates in the UK are disgraceful: 700,000 children in London are living in poverty. In Lewisham, 37% of children live in poverty and in one ward this is as high as 43.3%. It's deeply distressing that this level of inequality exists in the UK, particularly given that we are one of the richest countries in the world. Don’t know what poverty feels like? See here.
These figures are pre-COVID-19, and it is projected that the number of children in poverty will increase to 5.2 million by 2022. Families from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities are more likely to live in poverty; which cannot be separated from wider racial injustices and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on the same groups.
A recent survey from theFood Foundation revealed that 14% of UK families with children have experienced food insecurity in the past 6 months.
What are we doing about it?
Legendary Community Club, which was named by Chevrington Odoh from the Pro Plus FC, is a grassroots project set up by some members of Lewisham Mutual Aid and local organisations. Our aim is to deliver emergency food provision to ensure that children do not miss out, for as long as there is a need.
We will make this happen in three ways:
1. Temporary food banks have been set-up for families who require this support during the school holidays, in partnership with local schools and community groups.
2. Kitchens have been set up to prepare nutritionally balanced meals for young people who would normally receive a meal through their local school or sports club.
3. Campaigning and structural change. We know that food charity is not a long term solution. This is not the world we want to live in and we refuse to normalise food banks as a solution to food poverty. This is NOT an inevitable situation.
With this in mind, we have joined forces with The Children's Society, who have been calling on the government to ensure that every local council adequately funds emergency support for families, demanding that nobody is left with nowhere to turn in a time of crisis. For more information about their campaign 'Strengthening the Safety Net' see here, and sign the petition here.
We are also supporting calls from Save the Children and Child Poverty Action Group who have been lobbying for reforms to the benefits system, an increase in the child element of Universal Credit and Child Tax Credit by £20, and an end to the two child limit and the £20,000 a year benefit cap which hits families in high-rent areas such as Lewisham particularly hard.
We are working with the Food Foundation who a part of the newly formed alliance who have backed proposals from the National Food Strategy and are working alongside Marcus Rashford to #ENDCHILDFOODPOVERTY
The way our tax and welfare system is designed is a political choice. There are solutions. We will call on the government and its representatives to be bold, brave and radical in how they approach this problem.
What will we use the funds for?
We will use the money raised from the community to buy food and equipment for the project. We have a host of volunteers, and multiple clubs and schools signed up and ready to go. The project began on July 21st 2020.
- Bessie Shambare
- Lynne Stenner
- Bridget Rust
- Karen Shepherd