“I don’t even know what to say. Just look at what we can do when we come together, THIS is England in 2020.” said Marcus Rashford MBE on June 16 2020.
From the moment Rashford touched a national nerve over Free School Meals, forcing the government into a humbling U-turn, our communities, across our district, with the aid and assistance of elected representatives at County, District, Town and Parish level stepped up to the plate to meet the challenge to feed the children of Kent.
Between 2018 and 2020 the average annual rise for children receiving Free School Meals in Kent (not including Medway) was 22.1%.
Between 2019 and 2020 there was a 25.6% increase in Free School Meals in Kent. This significant rise can be put down to Covid.
As Covid and lockdown one hit on March 23rd 2020, residents of Kent lost their jobs, were made redundant or lost a percentage their income. This siesmicly shifted household budgets for those just about managing. Covid pushed their precarious finances over the edge leading to a surge in those needed to claim Free School Meals.
Kent’s Universal Credit figures clearly show the number of claimants rose by 46% in April 2020, that was 36,845 people in a single month.
This rise is shown nationally in the Food Foundation data released in May 2020. This showed 2.8 million households with children in the UK reported a loss of income after just a month of lockdown one started, which began on March 23rd 2020.
With vaccines available, and the rollout begun across many communities in Kent, the semblance of “normality” is on the horizon. It will draw closer for each of us, as each day passes.
Education in the classroom WILL begin. Work will begin. Together we will rebuild our communities our county.
Perseverance will be needed in what is set before us. The day will dawn, when we WILL be free of the shackles of Covid.
Our communities and our county will rise again. After all, just look at what we can do when we come together to feed the Children of Kent – THIS is Kent 2021.
The Shepwayvox Team
Stay at Homes, Save Lives, Save the NHS