Since launching his campaign to end child food poverty, Manchester United star Marcus Rashford has changed government policy, won an honorary doctorate from the University of Manchester, appeared on the cover of Vogue, and been appointedan MBE.
But his work is only just beginning.
Rashford’s mission to end child food poverty – which began in March after successfully reversing the government’s decision to halt free school meals during lockdown – has raised millions for youngsters nationwide.
A taskforce has also been assembled – starring some of Britain’s biggest supermarkets and delivery brands like Deliveroo.
But this week, the campaign is moving up another gear.
Rashford has created a petition asking for the government to “expand access to Free School Meals, provide meals and activities during the holidays, and increase the value of and expand the Healthy Start scheme.”
“Remember when I said I was going to need your help… ” Rashford reminded social media followers.
“For the millions who do not have the platform to be heard. Let’s stand as a ‘United’ Kingdom to #endchildfoodpoverty.”
The petition, which requires 100,000 signatures to be debated in the House of Commons, argues that the “Government should ensure children don’t pay the price” of COVID-19.
According to Rashford, 14% of parents and 10% of children have experienced food insecurity over the past six months, with 32% of families losing income as a result of the pandemic.
The footballer also warns that demand for food banks this winter is predicted to be 61% higher than last.
Rashford writes: “With the Child Food Poverty Taskforce, I am calling for Government to allocate money to:
Expand free school meals to all under-16s where a parent or guardian is in receipt of Universal Credit or equivalent benefit
Provide meals & activities during all holidays
Increase the value of Healthy Start vouchers to at least £4.25 per week, and expand the scheme.
The footballer also says that time is of the essence.
“These three recommendations must be implemented without delay.”
You can show your support and sign the petition here.
Manchester music store Forsyth is giving away free music lessons
Manchester music store Forsyth is giving away a host of free music lessons next month in a bid to inspire people to learn a new instrument, or pick up an old one.
The store is giving new and returning musicians a chance to receive a 10–15-minute free music taster session as part of its Music for All Learn to Play ’22 event.
Taking place across 8 and 9 October between 10am-5pm (8 October) and 1130am-30pm (9 October),short taster music lessons will allow all ages and abilities to have a musical experience that could turn into a lifetime of enjoyment, or even a new career.
Speaking on the free music lesson initiative, Emma from Forsyths said: “The past two years have shown how important music is to all our lives and how it can bring people together even in the most difficult of circumstances.
“We aim to help as many people as possible understand the unique joys and benefits of learning an instrument (or taking part in a choir).
“Anyone interested in learning to play an instrument or looking to pick it up again, should come and join us for this two-day celebration of music making.
“We’re delighted to be part of Music for All’s Learn to Play ’22 event, and we can’t wait to get started.”
OBE Jools Holland, Patron of Music for All, said: “Making music is very important to me. It’s my work, my pleasure, my friend, companion and therapist.
The charity Music for All believes passionately in the unique power of music to change lives and that is why it runs Learn to Play.
Music for All believes everyone should have equal access to music making.
The charity supports disadvantaged music makers by providing cash grants for tuition and instruments and by donating instruments directly.
Celebrated author Dame Hilary Mantel has died ‘suddenly yet peacefully’ aged 70
Dame Hilary Mantel has died aged 70.
The unexpected passing of the critically-acclaimed author whose celebrated career spans nearly five decades has just been announced by her agents 4th Estate Books and her publishing team at HarperCollins in two separate statements released this morning – who confirmed that she died “suddenly yet peacefully”.
The Glossop-born writer was famed for historical fiction work, and was most-known for being the author of the beloved Wolf Hall trilogy.
The statement by her agents confirming her passing reads: “We are heartbroken at the death of our beloved author, Dame Hilary Mantel, and our thoughts are with her friends and family, especially her husband, Gerald.
“This is a devastating loss and we can only be grateful she left us with such a magnificent body of work.”
Mantel’s publishers HarperCollins called her “one of the greatest English novelists of this century”.
The company’s statement reads: “It is with great sadness that AM Heath and HarperCollins announce that bestselling author Dame Hilary Mantel DBE died suddenly yet peacefully yesterday, surrounded by close family and friends, aged 70.
“Hilary Mantel was one of the greatest English novelists of this century and her beloved works are considered modern classics.
Mantel has twice been awarded the Booker Prize, the first time for the 2009 novel Wolf Hall, a fictional account of Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power in the court of Henry VIII, and secondly for the 2012 novel Bring Up the Bodies, the second instalment of the Cromwell trilogy.
She was the first woman, and fourth person, to receive the award twice.