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Posh and Free Kicks Foundation will tackle Christmas holiday hunger

What a team: Peterborough United Foundation and Free Kicks Foundation are raising money to help tackle holiday hunger in the city.
Pictured (from left to right): Rob Litten (Executive Headteacher, Park Lane and New Road Primary Schools), Janette Bowden (PE Co-Ordinator, Park Lane and New Road Primary Schools) and Gavin Slater (Community Manager, Peterborough United Foundation). (Photo: PUF)

In the October half-term, the Peterborough United Foundation put together and distributed more than 150 food parcels to children across the region. For December it is doubling its efforts, hoping to help 400 children.

To do this, the foundation is asking for donations from fans. Each food parcel is valued at around £5, meaning that a donation of £10 could help address holiday hunger for two children in greater Peterborough.

The Free Kicks Foundation, known for helping disadvantaged children live their football experience dream, has also turned its attention to tackling holiday hunger and will match the value raised up to £1,500.

Peterborough United Foundation community manager Gavin Slater said: "The response from the public, our schools and some of the recipients from our October food parcel delivery was incredible. We want to increase our impact and deliver more food parcels for the Christmas holidays.

"We have identified 400 children that we want to help this Christmas, and with them being off school for two weeks, we are asking for Posh fans' generous support in being able to add more items to their food parcels.”

Steve Thorpe, from the Free Kicks Foundation, added: "As we can’t currently do our normal work of taking children to matches, we wanted to do something to finish 2020 on a good note. Following Marcus Rashford’s brilliant campaign to arrange free school meals during October half-term, we approached the Posh Foundation to work together to provide meals for deserving children in Peterborough."

It is estimated that up to 3 million children across the UK are at risk of going hungry in the school holidays. This number is set to increase as the impact of the pandemic has hit family finances hard, through job losses and decreased wages on furlough.

There are two JustGiving pages accepting donations, one from the Posh Foundation and one from Free Kicks.

It was announced at the beginning of November that an extra £170 million of funding will be put into the Covid Winter Grant Scheme to support families over the season - while the Holiday Activities and Food programme will be extended to cover the Easter, summer and Christmas breaks in 2021.

This has been seen by many as a U-turn by the government; in October, most Conservative MPs voted against a Labour motion in the House of Commons calling for the extension of free school meal provision following Marcus Rashford’s campaign. Instead, many businesses and councils stepped in to fund meals for those who needed them.