Hunger a major fear for large number of students at Cambridgeshire schools
- Credit: 20Twenty Productions
Over 70 per cent of young people across Fenland and East Cambridgeshire either didn’t know where to get food at school or worried about their friends not eating in school.
A survey by Fenland and East Cambridgeshire Youth Advisory Boards (YAB) found the alarming statistics from a survey of 1,229 young people across both districts conducted last year.
In the survey, both YABs found 31pc of young people didn’t know where to get food from at school if they didn’t have money in their lunch accounts.
Although more than 17pc of young people have free school meals, 40pc of the young people surveyed said they worry about their friends not eating at all at school.
A YAB spokesperson said: “In most schools, children only receive £2-£2.30 for free school meals.
“One pupil says this ‘is enough to buy one tiny main meal that’s not very nutritionally beneficial, it’s not enough food and it’s not healthy, especially if people can’t afford food at home and rely on free school meals’.
“Given the conversation around free school meals during the Covid period, the YAB feels that the community could be doing more to support food poverty.”
And that is what they are looking to do next month.
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The YABs will host a Feeding Futures conference, which will highlight the effects not eating can have on young people and their mental health.
They will also pitch to local businesses and share perspectives of those who have experienced food poverty.
The spokesperson added: “Worrying about not eating isn’t something any child or young person in Fenland or East Cambs should have to weather, let alone in England, or at all.
“YAB is urging those who do have facilities and tools to help, to not turn a blind eye.
“The young people of Fenland and East Cambridgeshire are the future workforce, who need their basic needs met to learn efficiently at school.”
A pledge menu will be created at the conference to give businesses and organisations a chance to contribute to supporting those in need.
The conference will be held on Wednesday, August 11 between 10am-3pm at March Braza Club, Elm Road, March, PE15 8NZ.
To sign up, go to: https://forms.gle/jWdpQ79zFq5jzau46 and to get in touch about the event, email Shannon Barrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fenland and East Cambridgeshire Youth Advisory Boards are groups of young people and professionals that aim to identify issues that impact young people and look to provide a strategy in meeting those needs.