Manchester has officially announced its status as a ‘Right To Food’ city – backing a campaign to change the law and make access to food a ‘legal right’ for all.
According to The Food Foundation, as many as 3.8 million people suffered from food insecurity due to issues such as loss of income or isolation in the early stages of the pandemic.
A survey by Childwise has since claimed that as many as 8.4 million in the UK are experiencing food poverty of some kind.
Driven by this data, the Right To Food campaign is calling on the government to make groundbreaking and potentially lifesaving changes to legislation – whereby every person living in Britain is legally entitled to food.
This week, Manchester City Council has confirmed it is backing the campaign – joining Liverpool in the process – and will be sending a letter to the government outlining its position.
Councillor Bev Craig said: “Manchester has a proud history of fighting for peoples’ rights and the needs of our communities, not just locally but nationally. The Council is resolute in our believe that ending food poverty is a cause more than worth fighting for.
“We have refreshed our Family Poverty Strategy to reflect the COVID crisis and have supported Mancunians through the Manchester Food Partnership, the Hardship Fund and our Welfare Provision Scheme.”
The councillor added: “COVID has led to an increase in the levels of poverty across the country and, as a Council, we have been supportive of campaigns to alleviate hardship and reduce poverty such as the campaign to stop the cut to Universal Credit.
“This is why we are joining the call for towns and cities to come together and demand the Government guarantees the right to food and ends the scandal of food poverty.”
Craig also said that the council will continue to offer help wherever it is needed, “only stopping when every single family can access the food they deserve.”
Neighbouring boroughs Oldham and Rochdale have also announced that thousands of local families will get financial help for food during February half term.
In Oldham, food vouchers of £15 will be made available for each eligible child or young person in the area – meaning over 17,000 individuals will be offered help to get enough food over the half term break.
The council is working with schools and colleges to identify and contact all eligible families, sending out vouchers that can be used at local supermarkets.
Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford – who has been leading the charge for ending food poverty in the UK – has been actively supporting Oldham by pointing residents in the direction of services via his social media.
Councillor Arooj Shah, Oldham Council Deputy Leader, said the council will continue to “pressure” the government so that ministers “do not forget Oldham”.
He stated: “In these incredibly difficult times we have managed to secure enough money to ensure our vulnerable children and young people will have vital food supplies.
“We know that, although this isn’t anywhere near the amount of money needed to support those most in need, particularly with the ongoing impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, this funding will go some way towards ensuring no child in Oldham goes hungry this winter.
“We will therefore continue to pressure central Government to ensure they do not forget Oldham and its residents and call for fair funding for our borough.
“And the council would also like to remind people there are a range of benefits they can apply for to help this winter and that are means tested.”
Rochdale Council has also pledged to provide its local vulnerable residents with support during half-term.
Leader of the council, Councillor Allen Brett, said: “We have stepped in on several occasions now but a properly funded national solution is needed.
“It shouldn’t take Marcus Rashford forcing regular U-turns – everyone should see the importance of children not being hungry. We’ll keep fighting for families and do whatever we can.”
Councillor Kieran Heakin added: “We’re offering vouchers with extra support in the form of additional food parcels from our food clubs, for families who are struggling, so that there are more options available and immediate emergency help when it’s needed.
“It’s clear that the government system does not work for families and it is about time they listened.”
Football fans call out ‘tone-deaf’ FA TikTok for mocking ‘life-threatening’ head injury
Football fans are calling out the official FA Cup TikTok account for mocking a serious head injury suffered by a Stockport County player earlier this week.
The Hatters beat Charlton Athletic in fine fashion with a 3-1 victory on Wednesday, 7 December, with Will Collar’s hattrick (the club’s first since 2019) sending them through to the next round of the cup.
However, another notable moment from the night was right back Macauley Southam-Hales’ collision with advertising hoarders after a shove from Charlton captain George Dobson.
As the likes of County fan Joel Ward wrote on Twitter, many online were quick to slam the clip for joking about an injury that hospitalised the player, the consensus being that it isn’t a “great look” for the FA.
While many reacting in the comments recognised that Dobson didn’t intend to hurt Southam-Hales by shepherding the ball out of play, the Stockport defender does hit the predominantly metal structure with some force and was left in clear discomfort following the smash.
The video itself has since been removed from the official account following the backlash but people are still reacting as the clip continues to be reshared on social media.
The clip was branded as everything from “disgusting” and “disgraceful” to “simply unbelievable”.
What’s most concerning is that despite the recent push to promote awareness surrounding concussions, brain trauma and even heading the ball – which, historically, haven’t been properly monitored in football – whoever posted the video on behalf of the FA didn’t consider the very serious nature of the incident.
As alluded to above, perhaps what makes the post even more shocking and tone-deaf is that it comes just weeks after Bath City player forward Alex Fletcher was placed in intensive care following an almost identical accident.
The 23-year-old underwent life-saving brain surgery and although he has since been discharged from the hospital, he is said to have a “long road to recovery ahead of him”.
County confirmed that despite being the all-clear pitchside, Southam-Hales was taken to the hospital as a precaution after he suffered significant swelling around the neck area. Nevertheless, as we know all too well, it could have been much worse.
As for the FA, they have now apologised for the inappropriate attempt at humour, confirming that they have removed the video from all official accounts, admitting that “it should never have been published and assuring that they will “review [their] processes to ensure this never happens again.”
You can watch the full highlights from Stockport County vs Charlton Athletic HERE but we’d recommend you watch Alan Shearer reminding everyone who plays football to be more vigilant when it comes to head injuries.
Andy Burnham wants to help more girls get into football
Andy Burnham has urged schools to do more to encourage young girls to get into football.
The Greater Manchester Mayor was speaking to Sky News‘ Kay Burley on Thursday, 8 December as he discussed the importance of promoting more women in football and sport, in general.
Burnham said that himself, the FA and notable women’s football advocates like former keeper Karen Bardsley are “determined” to make sure the buzz following the Women’s Euros isn’t just a flash in the pan.
With the England men’s team currently trying to replicate the Lionesses‘ success as they prepare for the quarter-final of the 2022 World Cup, he went on to emphasise the lasting memories football can create on a global scale.
The Mayor went on to say that with the help of schools across the UK, they hope to “make sure that the success the Lionesses had in the summer becomes a permanent legacy”, imploring schools, the sporting community and the nation at large “not let those summer memories fade”.
Insisting that he already feels the heroics of Euro 2022 have already had an impact when it comes to inspiring more girls to get into football.
He said that the uptake among “women in football” since the tournament has been “amazing” but warned educators and parents not to “leave it to chance” and provide the support to make “real change”.