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  1. #1
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    Marcus Rashford's fight for school meals!





    Manchester United and England forward Marcus Rashford has urged the UK government to reconsider its decision not to extend the current food voucher scheme into the school summer holidays.

    The national voucher system was introduced in March to help low-income families feed their children when schools were closed under lockdown measures during the coronavirus pandemic.Vouchers worth £15 a week are eligible for the families of about 1.3m children in England who are on free school meals, but ministers announced earlier this month that the scheme would not run during the summer holiday period.

    Rashford says he is recovering well after his back injury and talks about his work with FareShare to help provide children with food while schools are closed

    Manchester United and England striker Rashford has raised more than £20m for charity after partnering with FareShare during the lockdown period and insists he will "keep fighting" to tackle the issue of child hunger. In a powerful and passionate open letter to MPs, he urged them to reverse their decision.

    "This is not about politics; this is about humanity," Rashford said. "Looking at ourselves in the mirror and feeling like we did everything we could to protect those who can't, for whatever reason or circumstance, protect themselves. Political affiliations aside, can we not all agree that no child should be going to bed hungry?

    "Food poverty in England is a pandemic that could span generations if we don't course correct now.

    "The Government has taken a 'whatever it takes' approach to the economy - I'm asking you today to extend that same thinking to protecting all vulnerable children across England.

    "I encourage you to hear their pleas and find your humanity. Please reconsider your decision to cancel the food voucher scheme over the summer holiday period and guarantee the extension.

    "This is England in 2020 and this is an issue that needs urgent assistance. Please, while the eyes of the nation are on you, make the U-turn and make protecting the lives of some of our most vulnerable a top priority."

    Around 5m people in households with children have struggled to put food on the table each day during the coronavirus crisis, while a third of children on free school meals did not have adequate alternative options, according to Food Foundation estimates.

    In the letter, Rashford - who received a High Sheriff Special Recognition award for his work in Greater Manchester last week - writes about his own experiences as a child and casts his mind back to his senior England debut.

    "On a week that would have opened Euro 2020, I wanted to reflect back to May 27th, 2016, when I stood in the middle of the Stadium of Light in Sunderland having just broken the record for the youngest player to score in his first Senior International match," he said.

    "I watched the crowds waving their flags and fist-pumping the three lions on their shirts and I was overwhelmed with pride not only for myself, but for all of those who had helped me reach this moment and achieve my dream of playing for the England national team.

    "Understand: without the kindness and generosity of the community I had around me, there wouldn't be the Marcus Rashford you see today: a 22-year-old Black man lucky enough to make a career playing a game I love.

    "My story to get here is all-too-familiar for families in England: my mum worked full-time, earning minimum wage to make sure we always had a good evening meal on the table. But it was not enough. The system was not built for families like mine to succeed, regardless of how hard my mum worked.

    "As a family, we relied on breakfast clubs, free school meals, and the kind actions of neighbours and coaches. Food banks and soup kitchens were not alien to us; I recall very clearly our visits to Northern Moor to collect our Christmas dinners every year. It's only now that I really understand the enormous sacrifice my mum made in sending me away to live in digs aged 11, a decision no mother would ever make lightly.

    "This Summer should have been filled with pride once more, parents and children waving their flags, but in reality, Wembley Stadium could be filled more than twice with children who have had to skip meals during lockdown due to their families not being able to access food. (200,000 children according to Food Foundation estimates).

    "As their stomachs grumble, I wonder if those 200,000 children will ever be proud enough of their country to pull on the England national team shirt one day and sing the national anthem from the stands.

    "As a Black man from a low-income family in Wythenshawe, Manchester, I could have been just another statistic. Instead, due to the selfless actions of my mum, my family, my neighbours, and my coaches, the only stats I'm associated with are goals, appearances and caps. I would be doing myself, my family and my community an injustice if I didn't stand here today with my voice and my platform and ask you for help."

    Rashford says Manchester United are in a "much stronger position" ahead of the Premier League's return than they were when the league was suspended in March.

    United were in good form before the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to proceedings, having gone unbeaten in their previous 11 matches in all competitions.

    https://www.skysports.com/football/n...voucher-scheme
    Last edited by MenInG; 16th June 2020 at 19:30.


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  2. #2
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    Labour is urging the government to continue funding free school meals for vulnerable children over the summer holidays, after footballer Marcus Rashford's plea for the scheme to be extended was rejected.

    Opposition MPs will use a debate in parliament today to call for an extension of the free school meal voucher scheme in England.

    Manchester United and England striker Rashford called attention to the issue in an open letter on Monday, which was praised by education leaders and teachers' unions.

    He said he had used free school meals and food banks as a child, and called on ministers to "find your humanity".

    The national voucher system was introduced in March to help low-income families during lockdown, but the government has confirmed this will be for term-time only.

    Nearly 1.3 million children in England are eligible for the vouchers, which are worth £15 per week.

    Rashford said he was "blown away with the support" and added that "it's not over yet".

    "We need to be the voice for those 200,000 children who have no choice but to skip meals today, I refuse to give up," he said.

    The 22-year-old, who has raised £20m to boost food distribution with the charity FareShare, has been backed by London mayor Sadiq Khan.

    Mr Khan wrote on Twitter: "I might be a Londoner and Liverpool fan, but I fully support @manutd's @MarcusRashford.

    "As a child I benefitted from free school meals. The Government must extend its free school meal scheme for disadvantaged children over the summer holidays. (And his mum should be very proud.)"

    The Labour Party will be calling for the decision to be reversed as part of its Holidays without Hunger campaign.

    Speaking in the opposition day debate, shadow education secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey will say: "Any government that is willing to let the poorest children in the country go hungry needs to take a long hard look at its priorities.

    "Shamefully, children go hungry every year, but this summer will be especially difficult for many families as job losses and reduced incomes hit household budgets."

    A Department for Education spokesperson said: "Free school meals are ordinarily term time only, and the national voucher scheme will not run during the summer holidays."

    They added: "Thousands of children will also receive additional support through our Holiday Activities and Food programme, which offers activities and free meals throughout the summer holidays."

    The prime minister's official spokesperson said Boris Johnson would respond to Rashford's letter "as soon as he can", and praised him for "using his profile in a positive way to highlight some very important issues".

    He continued: "The prime minister understands the issues facing families across the UK, which is why last week the government announced an additional £63 million for local authorities to benefit families who are struggling to afford food and other basic essentials."


    read://https_news.sky.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fnews.sky.com%2Fstory%2Fits-not-over-yet-labour-adds-to-marcus-rashfords-calls-for-free-school-meals-extension-12007633


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  3. #3
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    A row has blown up between footballer Marcus Rashford and the government over a call to extend free school meals during the coronavirus outbreak.

    The England striker pressed his campaign for the voucher scheme he once relied on to be given to poorer pupils over the summer for a second day.

    In a string of tweets on Tuesday, he urged politicians: "When you wake up this morning and run your shower, take a second to think about parents who have had their water turned off during lockdown...

    Students eat their school dinner from trays and plates during lunch in the canteen at Royal High School Bath, which is a day and boarding school for girls aged 3-18 and also part of The Girls' Day School Trust, the leading network of independent girls' schools in the UK.

    "And when you head to the fridge to grab the milk, stop and recognise that parents of at least 200,000 children across the country this morning are waking up to empty shelving "

    But the Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey hit back, tweeting: "Water cannot be disconnected though."

    Her short response to the campaign officially dismissed by the government but backed publically by two Tory backbencher prompted a speedy reply.

    Rashford wrote back: "I'm concerned this is the only tweet of mine you acknowledged. Please, put rivalries aside for a second, and make a difference."

    Nearly two hours later she responded: "I welcome your passion for supporting children and the most vulnerable in society - a passion we share. We are working to the same aim.

    "I and this government will continue to actively help and support families and businesses through this emergency and beyond."

    Rashford called attention to the issue in an open letter on Monday, which was praised by education leaders and teachers' unions.

    The Manchester United player said he had used free school meals and food banks as a child, and called on ministers to "find your humanity".

    The national voucher system was introduced in March to help low-income families during lockdown, but the government has confirmed this will be for term-time only.

    Nearly 1.3 million children in England are eligible for the vouchers, which are worth £15 per week.

    Rashford said he was "blown away with the support" and added that "it's not over yet".

    Grant Shapps insists the government is helping poor children with a cash injection to local authorities

    'We've wrapped our arms around families' - Grant Shapps
    "We need to be the voice for those 200,000 children who have no choice but to skip meals today, I refuse to give up," he said.

    The 22-year-old, who has raised £20m to boost food distribution with the charity FareShare, has been backed by London mayor Sadiq Khan.

    Mr Khan wrote on Twitter: "I might be a Londoner and Liverpool fan, but I fully support @manutd's @MarcusRashford.

    "As a child I benefited from free school meals. The government must extend its free school meal scheme for disadvantaged children over the summer holidays. (And his mum should be very proud.)"

    The Labour Party will be calling for the decision to be reversed as part of its Holidays without Hunger campaign.

    Speaking in a debate organised by the official opposition later, shadow education secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey is due to say: "Any government that is willing to let the poorest children in the country go hungry needs to take a long hard look at its priorities.

    "Shamefully, children go hungry every year, but this summer will be especially difficult for many families as job losses and reduced incomes hit household budgets."

    Tory MP George Freeman, a former head of 10 Downing Street's policy unit, said the government should "do the right thing" and "extend free school meals through summer".

    And Robert Halfon, chair of the Commons education committee, told the BBC ministers should "keep the school meal programme over the summer, because it is not a lot of extra money if you add up all the different government food programmes, but it's simple, it works, and the public understand it".

    Former Scottish Tories leader Ruth Davidson added: "I totally get that some LA [local authority] funding has been put in place, but am baffled why WM [Westminster] colleagues picking this hill to die on. I didn't have or need free school meals, but I went to a school where a huge % did.

    "Food security during the holidays so important. It's basic. Feed the kids."

    A student carries their school dinner on a tray and their lunch pass during lunch in the canteen at Royal High School Bath, which is a day and boarding school for girls aged 3-18 and also part of The Girls' Day School Trust, the leading network of independent girls' schools in the UK.

    A Department for Education spokesperson said: "Free school meals are ordinarily term time only, and the national voucher scheme will not run during the summer holidays."

    They added: "Thousands of children will also receive additional support through our holiday activities and food programme, which offers activities and free meals throughout the summer holidays."

    Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Sky News' Kay Burley@Breakast on Tuesday: "We are putting £63m into local authorities to help families and kids over the summer holiday even though normally free school meals don't usually extend over the summer holiday period and we have had all that other support in place - the billions in things like the furlough scheme.

    "It is an exceptional move we've already made on this.

    "We've really wrapped our arms around families and communities to do everything we can - but I can't pretend the whole pandemic hasn't created enormous pain, of course it has."

    The prime minister's official spokesperson said Boris Johnson would respond to Rashford's letter "as soon as he can", and praised him for "using his profile in a positive way to highlight some very important issues".

    He continued: "The prime minister understands the issues facing families across the UK, which is why last week the government announced an additional £63 million for local authorities to benefit families who are struggling to afford food and other basic essentials."

    In Wales, the devolved government's education minister Kirsty Williams said she had "already committed to providing free school meals over the summer holidays".

    "Well done Marcus Rashford - I wish you all the best in this campaign," she added.

    https://news.sky.com/story/its-not-o...nsion-12007633


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  4. #4
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    Marcus Rashford has responded to the UK government's plans to extend a free meal scheme for families in England, following his campaign.

    In a tweet, the Manchester United and England forward, 22, wrote: "Just look at what we can do when we come together, THIS is England in 2020."

    UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has welcomed Mr Rashford's "contribution to the debate around poverty" after the U-turn was announced.



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  5. #5
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    Government U-turn on summer free school meals in England

    The government has U-turned on a decision not to carry on the free school meal programme for poorer children into the summer.

    The scheme had been extended over the Easter break in response to the coronavirus crisis, but was to be paused over the six weeks summer holiday.

    Now, after a highly successful campaign from the England footballer Marcus Rashford, the government is setting up what it’s calling a “Covid summer school fund” to ensure all those in England eligible for free school meals will be get a six-week voucher to help them be fed over the summer.

    Downing St said the prime minister "welcomed Marcus Rashford’s contribution to the debate around poverty".

    Boris Johnson's spokesman said the voucher represented “a specific measure to reflect the unique circumstances of the pandemic”.

    The support amounts to around £15 a week per child.

    Around 1.3m children in England claimed free school meals in 2019, meaning a similar number could be eligible for this summer support.


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  6. #6
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    And he won! Respect

  7. #7
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    Mad respect for Rash

  8. #8
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    Free school meals will be provided to some children during the summer holidays, in a U-turn by the government sparked by England footballer Marcus Rashford's campaign.

    The vouchers - for £15 a week - will be made available to around 1.3 million children in England who are currently eligible for the scheme, and will last for six weeks.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson's spokesman said he "understands children and parents face unprecedented situations" during the coronavirus outbreak.

    He added that payment will be made through vouchers - most likely a one-off six-week voucher, to be given to eligible families at the end of term and able to be spent in supermarkets.

    The spokesman added Mr Johnson welcomed Rashford's "contribution to the debate around poverty and respects he's been using his profile as a leading sportsman to highlight important issues".

    The Department for Education had denied any change was likely in a statement on Monday, with a spokesperson saying: "The national voucher scheme will not run during the summer holidays."

    But the government has changed tact after Manchester United striker Rashford kept up his campaign.

    Responding to the news, the 22-year-old tweeted: "I don't even know what to say. Just look at what we can do when we come together, THIS is England in 2020."

    He had initially published open letter to MPs on Monday, which was retweeted more than 140,000 times.

    After initial pushback, he kept up the pressure for a second day - sparking a tetchy exchange with Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey on the social media site.

    He had already won the backing of Labour and two senior Tory MPs - Robert Halfon, chair of the Commons' education select committee, and George Freeman, a former head of the Downing Street policy unit.

    Downing Street claimed the extra support will cost around £120m - in addition to £63m already pledged for councils to help families and kids over the summer holidays.

    Labour called it a welcome move and "victory for the 1.3 million children who were at risk of going hungry this summer".

    Shadow education secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said: "It is thanks to the amazing work of Marcus Rashford and campaigners that the government has had no choice but to reverse their decision.

    "The government must now confirm that this new money will be for the direct provision of free school meals to all eligible children."

    https://news.sky.com/story/coronavir...meals-12007864


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  9. #9
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    Not the biggest fan of Rashford (as a footballer), but he deserves all the recognition and praise for this.

  10. #10
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    A lot of respect for Rashford for this. Probably gonna forget that when the whistle goes though


    Arsenal all the way!! (and Pakistan, of course!)

  11. #11
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  12. #12
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    A wonderful letter. I forwarded it to my Tory MP. Well done Mr Rashford!

  13. #13
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    The prime minister said at the Downing Street briefing that he only became aware “today” of footballer Marcus Rashford’s campaign to make the government change its mind on not extending free school meal vouchers in England over the summer.

    The government has now relented and says it will continue to run the scheme during the summer holiday and Boris Johnson has congratulated the player.

  14. #14
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    Good on him.

    Just goes to show what determination can do.



  15. #15
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    Class act by Rashford.

  16. #16
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    Marcus Rashford has said he hopes he can use his profile to help change society for the better and that people are now "willing to make that first step towards being heard".

    The England and Manchester United star has been widely praised for helping to secure food vouchers worth £15 a week for disadvantaged children over the summer.

    He told Sky Sports News it was "a bit crazy" the campaign had worked and he was happy he will be able to make a difference to people's lives.

    Speaking about how footballers can inspire change, the 22-year-old said fellow England player Raheem Sterling's reaction to being racially abused was a "turning point".

    "Now people are willing to make that first step towards being heard and I think the first important factor for that was Raheem, when he went through his situation being racially abused how he stood up to that," he said.

    "He's not afraid to come out and speak about it and it's definitely changed how to approach situations for people in the sport."

    While the recent Black Lives Matter protests have shone a spotlight on racial inequality, Rashford said his generation is more willing to speak out.

    "We have to make England what we want it to look like... My view on it is it's a generational thing. Generations change and people improve as humans should.

    "I feel like now this generation that we're in, we're not afraid to stand up and be counted for and it's definitely a positive thing."

    Marcus Rashford has thanked Boris Johnson "for U-turning" on a decision to scrap free school meals after the prime minister called him on the phone.

    Discussing his campaign to provide children with food vouchers, Rashford said children going without meals puts "a lot of stress on parents' heads and it leads to other things".

    "I've seen first hand how it can spiral out of control and people can literally end up on the streets because of not having meals throughout the day," he said.

    "It's not only the food situation that I was thinking about when I was raising that awareness, it's other stuff - mental health and the well-being of people and families."

    He added: "It might not seem like a big thing but something like not eating every day or not eating the right amount of meals every day can have a big impact on your life."

    The 22-year-old has previously spoken about how his family had relied on free school meals, food banks and soup kitchens while he was growing up.

    But he told SSN that he was "one of the lucky ones" as other people would often help him out.

    "At times if my mum was working late and she wasn't at home, I knew I could go one or two minutes to one of my friends' houses and they would always put something on a plate for me," he said.

    "There was ways around it for me personally. Even from a young age I understood that for some people there's not ways around it, so who's helping them?"

    Despite earning the praise of many and making the newspaper front pages, Rashford said the focus should not be on himself: "It's about the people who it's affecting".

    https://news.sky.com/story/marcus-ra...-like-12008429


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  17. #17
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    The health secretary has explained why he accidentally called Marcus Rashford "Daniel" while praising him on Sky News for leading a campaign to extend free school meals.

    Matt Hancock made the slip of the tongue speaking to Kay Burley@Breakfast as he explained why the government U-turned to support the England footballer's plea.

    Rashford, 22, succeeded in convincing Boris Johnson to extend free school meals to children from disadvantaged backgrounds through the summer holidays.

    A student carries their school dinner on a tray and their lunch pass during lunch in the canteen at Royal High School Bath, which is a day and boarding school for girls aged 3-18 and also part of The Girls' Day School Trust, the leading network of independent girls' schools in the UK.

    Asked why the government changed its mind after initially refusing, Mr Hancock said: "I'll tell you what happened, the prime minister talked to Daniel Rashford.

    "He considered it and made his decision.

    "I think it's terrific."

    The minister later told radio station LBC that his child's fondness for JK Rowling novels may have been to blame and "maybe I had Harry Potter on the mind".

    Mr Hancock later explained confusing Rashford's first name by suggesting he had the Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe on his mind.

    "My seven-year-old listens to Harry Potter and reads Harry Potter avidly, including at 5.30 this morning when I got up to do this morning's media round," he told LBC.

    Footballer Marcus Rashford comments on government U-turn brought about by his actions

    Rashford on poverty: 'I've seen how it spirals'
    Mr Hancock suggested it had been "too early in the morning" and laughed as he told BBC Breakfast: "I completely misspoke."

    England star Rashford, 22, appeared to joke about the incident, responding on Twitter by saying "I've been called much worse over the last couple of days" with a laughing face emoji.

    Mr Hancock replied with a head in hands emoji and added: "Too early. But in all seriousness Marcus you're a credit to the nation."

    Rashford has spoken to Sky Sports News about why he launched the campaign in the first place, as someone whose family used to rely on free school meals.

    He said he hopes he can use his profile to help change society for the better and that people are now "willing to make that first step towards being heard".

    https://news.sky.com/story/matt-hanc...paign-12008492


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  18. #18
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    What are the figures on UK child poverty?

    PM Boris Johnson and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer clashed over child poverty, following the government’s U-turn over extending the free school meal voucher scheme.

    Johnson said “absolute poverty and relative poverty have both declined under this government”.

    So, what do the figures show?

    Measuring child poverty is complex and the prime minister mentioned the two most common methods. Both look at the number of children living in households earning 60% below the median income (the midpoint where half of people earn more than this, half less).

    Relative poverty uses this figure for any given year. Absolute poverty compares with the median household as it was in 2010-2011 (this gives a longer term picture).

    The number of children in relative poverty in England has increased by 400,000 since 2009-10, the year the Conservatives entered office (in coalition with the Liberal Democrats). However, the proportion of children affected remains the same at 30%.

    Meanwhile, absolute poverty has decreased by 100,000.

    It’s worth noting that Johnson referred to a decline “under this government” but the 2019-20 figures – on which child poverty measurements are based – won’t be released until later in the year so it’s very difficult to come to a conclusion on this part of his claim.

    There’s more on how child poverty is measured in this piece from last year: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42223497


    Arsenal all the way!! (and Pakistan, of course!)

  19. #19
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    Star footballer Marcus Rashford's efforts to ensure children don't go hungry during the coronavirus pandemic are "more important than any game of football he could play", Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said.

    A highly personal campaign by the England and United player - including an open letter to MPs about his own experience of relying on free school meals - prompted the government to extend its food voucher scheme in England over the summer, to the benefit of about 1.3 million children.

    "He has changed the lives of so many kids this summer," said Solskjaer.

    He called the 22-year-old a "top human being" who had used his position as a "role model" at the club to help people.

    "We're really proud of him and his family must be so proud of what he has achieved.

    "He is a future leader, a future captain, maybe, of England, Manchester United, who knows?"


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  20. #20
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    What is with Yuvraj singh

    He seems to have brought out the philanthropy and altruism in both afridi and rashford

    Credit to Rashford, he's like a man possessed at the minute trying to seek justice for the common man
    It's a shame educated footballers like Frank lampard aren't doing the same


    "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles"


  21. #21
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    Publicity stunt. How much of his own money did Rashford contribute?

    Another case of a BLM bandwagor.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by topspin View Post
    Not the biggest fan of Rashford (as a footballer), but he deserves all the recognition and praise for this.
    Agree. Overated as a player but this is a great thing he has done, a great great thing.


    Lions don't lose sleep over the opinions of Sheep

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Technics 1210 View Post
    Publicity stunt. How much of his own money did Rashford contribute?

    Another case of a BLM bandwagor.
    Agree they all are, I was angry seeing the players yesterday with the BLM on the back of their shirts instead of their own names. But at least Rashford hasn't been a clown like some , such as AJ who read he wont be buying from white shops and only blacks. I assume he wont be taking ticket or PPV revenue from white folks too?


    Lions don't lose sleep over the opinions of Sheep

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingKhanWC View Post
    Agree they all are, I was angry seeing the players yesterday with the BLM on the back of their shirts instead of their own names. But at least Rashford hasn't been a clown like some , such as AJ who read he wont be buying from white shops and only blacks. I assume he wont be taking ticket or PPV revenue from white folks too?
    AJ must be regretting his comment. This is what happens when they jump on a badwagon, emotionally charged.

    These are all stunt just to try and keep BLM relevant because if anything, the last few weeks has sent the black community 20 years of progression.

  25. #25
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    It was on 19 March that Marcus Rashford first went on social media to highlight his fears about the impact that shutting schools would have on disadvantaged children.

    He may earn £200,000 a week now, but it is only 11 years since the Manchester United and England striker needed breakfast clubs and free school meals to supplement what his mum could provide. She was the head of a single-parent family of five children, working full-time on the minimum wage.

    When Prime Minister Boris Johnson stood before the nation on the evening of 18 March to tell the country schools had to help combat the spread of Covid-19, Rashford immediately knew what that would mean. While most parents wondered how they were going to manage childcare, Rashford wondered how kids growing up as he had would get fed.

    "Guys, across the UK there are over 32,000 schools. Tomorrow all of these will close. Many of the children attending these schools rely on free meals, so I've spent the last few days talking to organisations to understand how this deficit is going to be filled," he wrote.

    The start of the six-post thread received 42,500 likes on Twitter. Just under 13 weeks later, Rashford posted again. A rather simpler message.

    "I don't even know what to say." It received 709,000 likes.

    In between, Rashford had helped supply the equivalent of three million meals. He had highlighted the damage caused by the 'invisible issue of food insecurity'. He had received messages of support from Liverpool and Manchester City. He had changed government policy.

    As Rashford returns to his day job, it is worth understanding why, at the age of 22, he has been so willing to step out of his comfort zone. It is worth understanding how he has ended up so revered and admired for his work away from the football field.

    Rashford articulated his back story in the emotive letter he sent to MPs on Monday.

    "As a family, we relied on breakfast clubs, free school meals, and the kind actions of neighbours and coaches," he wrote. "Food banks and soup kitchens were not alien to us; I recall very clearly our visits to Northern Moor to collect our Christmas dinners every year. It's only now that I really understand the enormous sacrifice my mum made in sending me away to live in digs aged 11, a decision no mother would ever make lightly."

    For one of the most recognisable sport stars in the country, this was a brave move. It opened the door on a life Rashford could, if he wished, now leave far behind. He is not far into his career but he has already earned enough to ensure none of his family need worry about their next meal ever again.

    Yet that memory in itself does not tell the whole story.

    Marcus Rashford: "I'm grateful the prime minister changed his decision"

    It is informative to hear of the time Rashford spent, already then a highly-rated academy hopeful, kicking a ball about with his friends at public coaching sessions set up close to his home by the Manchester United Foundation. By that time, his promise as a footballer was already evident. If his coaches in the United youth set-up had known of these impromptu sessions, they would almost certainly have been stopped, in just the same way as then manager Louis van Gaal would have recoiled had he known Rashford went for a kick-about with mates at a Power League complex within hours of making his United first-team debut in 2016.

    "There is an argument that these experiences humanised him more than would have been the case if he had just gone through the system," says a club source, who has watched Rashford's development from an early age.

    "He has a strong family, who are very down to earth. His mother is a great role model. It is part of what keeps him grounded."

    Rashford spent a lot of time with another local boy in the United squad, Jesse Lingard.

    When volunteers were asked to attend Foundation events, Lingard and Rashford regularly responded. It was soon obvious both were able to communicate with youngsters and make them feel at ease.

    "Probably because of their background, there was an empathy and a rapport which the kids really responded to. Kids loved being in their company and Marcus and Jesse seemed happy to be there. They still do," says the United source.

    This interaction should not be dismissed as insignificant.

    For as Rashford's career was progressing rather faster than many imagined, from England's Under-16 team in November 2012 to selection for Roy Hodgson's Euro 2016 squad three-and-a-half years later, he never lost touch with his roots.

    "After he made his debut, we asked if he would come back to the school," says Simon Pyne, a year three teacher at Rashford's old school, Button Lane Primary in Northern Moor.

    Marcus Rashford
    Rashford is a product of the Fletcher Moss Rangers junior club in Manchester
    "We were having a school disco one night. I was in the office talking to one of the administration staff when a group of lads appeared at one of the doors and buzzed to see if they could come in because they were all former pupils. We didn't recognise any of them at first but Marcus was there.

    "He walked into the disco and all the kids were there. He was brilliant. He chatted to them, did a quick question and answer session with them and had photographs taken. He was absolutely amazing."

    Rashford has donated to the school. On another Christmas visit, he handed over £1,000 so the school could provide the children with a selection box each to take home. His ties to the area are so deep he has a tattoo of the house he lived in at that time on his stomach.

    But it was an unrelated, unfortunate event last August that focused Rashford's mind on what more he could do.

    Self-driven, curious, humble: How Rashford rose to stardom
    Public perceptions of him had been jolted that summer by his presence in a crude video that ended up in the public domain, featuring Lingard talking about their summer holiday.

    Two months later, Rashford missed a penalty in a home defeat by Crystal Palace. The fall-out included a number of racist posts aimed at him on social media. Days earlier, his United team-mate Paul Pogba had been similarly abused.

    Those close to Rashford said he had already started to become more inquisitive about how the public perceived him. After the Palace experience, he thought 'this isn't OK' and started to take more control.

    As a child at school Rashford had helped fill gift boxes to give to those in need. He remembered this. At Christmas 2018 he personally delivered items including thermal underwear, gloves, toothbrushes and toothpaste to homeless people in Manchester. Twelve months on he partnered with Selfridges for a similar campaign.

    The gesture was well received. But for Rashford it was not enough.

    In January, he suffered a back injury against Wolves. It was feared it might end his season. Rashford and the people who work closely with him began to investigate suitable partners to help deal more comprehensively with the social issues affecting his home city.

    The work was still in its infancy when it became obvious what a devastating toll Covid-19 was going to take. By the time the prime minister announced schools would shut, Rashford had told FareShare he wanted to make a donation - and he wanted to help.

    A nationwide charity, FareShare collects surplus goods from the food industry. It might be from manufacturers or from farmers. It might be because orders have been cancelled, or mistakes in packaging have been made. Through their partners, Fare Share then divert the food to charities, including lunch clubs for the elderly or the kinds of breakfast club Rashford used to go to.

    "Those sorts of organisations are about 25% of the 11,000 organisations FareShare supports across the UK," says the charity's commercial director Alyson Walsh.

    "These are children who have potentially not eaten since the previous day's free school meal, so getting breakfast to them is massive. Marcus knew about this because he had been to them."

    Rashford's elevation to national hero had begun.

    In his interview with the BBC after Johnson's staggering U-turn, Rashford boldly declared: "I don't want this to be the end of it because there are more steps that need to be taken. People are struggling all year round, so we need to learn more about the situation they are in and how we can help them best."

    Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said on Thursday that Rashford's impact has been "more important than any game of football". But the reality is Rashford does play football for a living.

    He does have a long-term desire to one day establish his own foundation, so he can be hands on in developing projects that would benefit the community, but for now, football must take priority again. And until the end of the European Championships in July 2021, Rashford is going to be quite busy.

    So, for him, it is a question of identifying the projects and situations where he can help.

    On 1 June, that meant a powerful social media statement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Three days later it meant standing up for an autistic black boy shown in a video being bullied by two white youths in a park.

    Since suffering racism himself, Rashford does not see why he should step away from subjects he cares about. As the past few days show, far more will embrace him for it than reject him. And, if they do, he reasons he doesn't want that kind of person attaching themselves to him anyway.

    Those at FareShare believe Rashford taking a stand can help drive lasting change, beyond what has already been achieved.

    "Food insecurity is an invisible issue," says Walsh.

    "People talk about raising money for illnesses they have been affected by. There is not so much conversation around 'I am raising money for a Foodbank because my sister skipped lunch three times last week'.

    "People don't talk about it because it can be a reflection on their circumstances.

    "But the fact Marcus is doing so, not only shines a light on it, it also adds credibility because he has benefited from these clubs and seen how they work."

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/53096253


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  26. #26
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    Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has shown footballers have the ability to use their platform to "change really important things".

    Rashford this week successfully campaigned for the government to make a U-turn and extend its free school meals voucher scheme over the summer holidays - a change of policy that will benefit 1.3m children in the UK.

    Klopp, speaking to Soccer Saturday ahead of Sunday's Merseyside derby against Everton, said: "Marcus Rashford, I have to say, I couldn't respect more what you did - it's unbelievable.

    "It's a bit of a shame you had to do it, but still unbelievable that you did it. It really shows that a person - not alone - but with his name and his effort can change really important things. We are all part of society and we are all involved in that."

    Tottenham and Manchester United players took the knee in support of Black Lives Matter ahead of their Premier League match
    The death of George Floyd - an unarmed black man who died in police custody in the United States in May - has sparked protests around the world and the Premier League has followed suit in showing its support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

    The start of every game since Wednesday's return to action has seen all players and officials take a knee before kicking off, while names have been replaced by 'Black Lives Matter' on the back of shirts.

    Klopp believes society should look to football and follow its lead with regard to how the game handles racism.

    "I think equality should be in all parts of society, not just in football," he added. "You can see at each level there are so many smart people out there and the last thing you should look for is the colour of someone's skin.

    "Being smart has nothing to do with your skin colour, it has only to do with who you are and you don't have to be smart you can be likeable, lovable, you can be funny or whatever. It has nothing to do with your skin colour.

    "For us in football it is the most natural thing. I struggle a little bit to talk about it because we live it completely different. For us they are all the same, absolutely the same. So if there is one thing you can learn from football it is this."

    Klopp is hopeful that football has learned some lessons during the coronavirus pandemic, most important of all: "We never want to play behind closed doors again".

    The Liverpool boss is hoping the sterile atmosphere of an empty Goodison Park will not deter his players from performing to the top of their game in Sunday's Merseyside derby, live on Sky Sports.

    "No one should compare [performances with and without fans] because none of the famous European nights at Anfield would have happened without the supporters," he said.

    "You can't comeback - OK you can comeback - but it is not as likely [without fans] and the reason for this habit of things like this happening at Anfield is the crowd of course. There is no doubt about that."

    "The holy grail of what you dream to happen in your career is to be in front of a packed stadium and to score a decisive goal in the last second in your home ground," he continued.

    "We've known for a while it will not happen like this and you only have to remind yourself a little bit we all started playing football without crowds and we loved the game anyway."

    https://www.skysports.com/football/n...d-forward-more


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  27. #27
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    Stormont finds funding for free school meals, health and arts

    A free school meals scheme for the summer holidays will go ahead in Northern Ireland after £12m was found from existing Stormont budgets.

    The money has been reallocated as part of a budgeting exercise known as a monitoring round.

    Health got the largest reallocation with about £90m to be spent on elective care and mental health services.

    The finance minister said the allocation would "provide vital funding for vulnerable people and businesses".

    Three business support grant schemes have been underspent by £53m. Those funds will be held by the executive until ministers agree what the next stage of business support should be.

  28. #28
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    Footballer Marcus Rashford is being given an honorary degree after he forced a government U-turn on free school meals for Britain's poorest children.

    Rashford, 22, will receive his honorary doctorate from the University of Manchester later this summer.

    He will become the youngest person in the university's history to be granted its highest possible honour and will join fellow Manchester United legends Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton in being recognised in this way.

    The England striker made headlines off the pitch earlier this year when he successfully lobbied the government to provide free school meals for underprivileged pupils during the summer holidays.

    Ministers had been planning to scrap the £15-a-week voucher scheme, which was launched during the coronavirus lockdown to make up for free meals pupils would normally get at school.

    But the government made a dramatic U-turn after Rashford, from Wythenshawe in Manchester, wrote to them to explain how the system supported him during his schooling and to urge them to carry it on.

    He received a phone call from Prime Minister Boris Johnson and after teaming up with food waste charity FareShare went on to raise £20m - or 3.9 million meals - for the UK's most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Rashford said: "It's a proud day for myself and my family. When you look at the great names that have been awarded this doctorate in the past, it's humbling.

    "We still have a long way to go in the fight to combat child poverty in this country but receiving recognition from your city means we are heading in the right direction and that means a lot."

    Inspired by fellow England player Raheem Sterling, Rashford has also taken a vocal stance on the Black Lives Matter movement.

    Despite the Premier League starting up again, the United player says he is determined to continue his campaigning.

    President and vice-chancellor at Manchester, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, said: "Marcus is an extraordinary young man with an extraordinary talent and drive that stretches well beyond the football field.

    "Our university has social responsibility at its core and this sense of civic pride and duty is something we are proud to share with Marcus."

    A Manchester United spokesman described Rashford as an "exceptional player and an exceptional person", adding: "His work with FareShare and his focus on child poverty make him richly deserving of this tremendous honour and everyone at Manchester United is incredibly proud of him."

    https://news.sky.com/story/mancheste...paign-12028796


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  29. #29
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    Marcus Rashford's call to extend free schools meals to more of Britain's poorest children has been backed by the government's own review into feeding the nation.

    Another 1.5 million pupils between the ages of seven and 16 should be entitled to free school meals, according to the National Food Strategy.

    The review, led by Leon restaurant founder Henry Dimbleby, recommends extending the free school meals programme to every child from a household claiming Universal Credit.

    Currently only children whose parents earn less than £7,400 a year are eligible.

    The report also calls for an expansion of the holiday activity and food programme to all areas in England, which would reach an extra 1.1 million children at a cost of £200m a year.

    It comes after England star Marcus Rashford lobbied ministers to continue providing free meals for underprivileged pupils during the school holidays.

    The Manchester United player's campaign saw the government U-turn on the decision to scrap its £15-a-week lockdown voucher scheme for the summer.

    He went on to help raise £20m - the equivalent of 3.9 million meals - for the UK's most vulnerable youngsters during the coronavirus pandemic, after teaming up with food waste charity FareShare.

    Mr Dimbleby's report also calls for an increase in value of the government's Healthy Start voucher scheme to £4.25 and wants it extended to pregnant women and households with children under four that claim Universal Credit.

    The vouchers, which can be spent on vitamins, fruit, vegetables and milk, would benefit a further 290,000 pregnant women and under-fours if the recommendations are adopted.

    Mr Dimbleby said the chief executives of Waitrose and the Co-op have already agreed to supplement the vouchers with extra free fruit and vegetables.

    His report warned that if action is not taken soon, poorer children risk being "left behind".

    It says: "One of the miserable legacies of COVID-19 is likely to be a dramatic increase in unemployment and poverty, and therefore hunger.

    "The effects of hunger on young bodies (and minds) are serious and long-lasting, and exacerbate social inequalities.

    "Children who are hungry at school struggle to concentrate, perform poorly, and have worse attendance records."

    Every morning, Zane Powles, assistant headteacher at Western Primary School, delivers 78 packed lunches to children who qualify for free school meals, each containing a sandwich, a packet of crisps, a biscuit and an apple.

    It would cost £670m a year to provide meals for an extra 1.5 million children, the report said.

    Mr Dimbleby concluded by urging the government to implement his recommendations quickly.

    "In doing so, it will improve the health of the nation and be a necessary pillar of its ambition to level up society," he said.

    https://news.sky.com/story/governmen...meals-12038241


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  30. #30
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    Footballer Marcus Rashford has formed a taskforce with some of the UK's biggest food brands to try to help reduce child food poverty.

    The 22-year-old Manchester United forward successfully campaigned to extend free school meals this summer.

    He has spoken about his own experiences of using a food voucher scheme as a child and was praised for pressing the government into a U-turn on the issue.

    He has written to MPs, outlining the help he feels some families still need.

    The group of supermarkets, businesses and charities - including Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Deliveroo, FareShare, Food Foundation, Iceland, Kellogg's, Lidl, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose - have formed a taskforce and backed proposals from the National Food Strategy, an independent review of UK food policy.

    Mr Rashford said he was "confident" the group could help change lives "for the better".

    Speaking to BBC Breakfast, he said the move to extend free school meals over the summer had been a "short-term solution" to stopping children from going hungry, but it "wasn't going to work in the long run".

    "We had to think about the best way to do it, to think about how these families can eat long term and not have any issues," he said.

    Mr Rashford is hoping that, with a bigger team of experts around him, he might be able to help more children.

    "We wanted to do it the best way we could, introduce the best people into our group, and see if using them [we] can push it even more."

    The taskforce is calling for three policy recommendations by the National Food Strategy to be funded by the government as soon as possible:

    The taskforce says implementing the three recommendations would mark a "unifying step to identifying a long-term solution to child poverty in the UK".

    In his letter to MPs, Mr Rashford says he hopes the chancellor will find the funds to do so in his Budget and spending review "without delay".

    Schools minister Nick Gibb said he would be delighted to meet Mr Rashford, saying the footballer was "right to draw the nation's attention" to the matter.

    He told BBC Breakfast the government shared Mr Rashford's objective to alleviate child food poverty and would look at the policy recommendations.

    The first report of the National Food Strategy, which was commissioned by the government in 2019, aims to help create a food system in the UK that is healthy, affordable and sustainable.

    Food entrepreneur Henry Dimbleby, who is leading the National Food Strategy review, has said school meals are a "fantastic way" to get children eating well at school.

    "The alternative to a school lunch is a packed lunch and only 1% of packed lunches have the nutritional value of a school meal," he said.

    "If you look at packed lunches as children get less affluent, those packed lunches have increasingly low nutritional value."

    Members of the taskforce have also pledged to spend the next six weeks using their platforms to share stories of those affected by child food insecurity in the UK.

    'Proud and humbled'
    Mr Rashford has stressed the importance of tackling the stigma around child food poverty, and changing attitudes about asking for help.

    He told the BBC: "I feel like at times people think they are being looked down on if they ask for help, and I think in this generation... that is something that should change.

    "You should feel free if you want to ask for help for anything," he said. "Hold your head up high and if you need help go and get help."

    The footballer has met some of the families who have benefitted from the extended children's food voucher scheme, which he said had been an "unbelievable experience".

    "Just to see the smiles on their faces and to see how much it's helped them, you know, made me happy," he said. "It was good to see the parents laughing and smiling."

    During the coronavirus lockdown the government provided vouchers to families whose children qualify for free meals, but it had insisted this would not continue into the summer holidays.

    This prompted the England squad footballer to write an open letter to MPs, drawing on his own experiences of relying on free school meals and food banks growing up in Wythenshawe, Manchester. He called on the government to reverse its decision - which it did shortly after he spoke out.

    The U-turn enabled about 1.3m children in England to claim vouchers over the holidays, with the support working out as about £15 a week for each child.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-53979648


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  31. #31
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    Marcus Rashford hits back at Tory MP Kevin Hollinrake over food poverty comments

    Footballer Marcus Rashford has urged a Conservative MP to "talk to families" experiencing food poverty after comments made on social media.

    The Manchester United player, who led a successful campaign to force the government to U-turn and extend free school meals to children from low-income families over the summer holidays, intervened again on the issue.

    He sent a message to Kevin Hollinrake, the MP for Thirsk and Malton, on Sunday.

    Mr Hollinrake had praised the "extraordinary success" of the "Eat Out to Help Out" scheme, which saw diners save money on meals in a bid to boost restaurants' recovery after the coronavirus lockdown.

    A Twitter user, Bryan Bryant, replied to him saying it had been "warmly welcomed by the hospitality industry".

    But he added: "Whilst we're discussing food, why does it take footballer Marcus Rashford to make a stand for the hungry children in our society? Is that not the governments job?"

    Mr Hollinrake responded that "where they can, it's a parents job to feed their children".

    Within a few hours, the post caught the attention of Rashford himself.

    He sent a message to Mr Hollinrake saying: "I would urge you to talk to families before tweeting.

    "To this day I haven't met one parent who hasn't wanted or felt the responsibility to feed their children."

    Candice Brown, 2016's Great British Bake Off winner, sent a supportive message.

    She said: "Wow such ignorance!

    "Can you imagine not being able to to feed your child or having to make those sorts of choices for your family.

    "Marcus Rashford you are doing such great things."

    The 22-year-old England striker has talked previously about having using a food voucher scheme as a child and earlier this week announced an alliance with the food industry to tackle child food poverty.

    It is not the first time Rashford has sparred with a Tory MP.

    Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey ignited a row with Rashford in June when she took issue with him asking people to "think about parents who have had their water turned off during lockdown".

    https://news.sky.com/story/marcus-ra...ments-12065071


    Arsenal all the way!! (and Pakistan, of course!)

  32. #32
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    No child should go hungry especially ina country like the UK - so well done to Rashford for using his platform for making this happen.

    But why do parents bring kids into the world when they know they canít feed them?

  33. #33
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    Marcus Rashford: Liverpool's Andy Robertson says Man Utd player could get Anfield ovation

    Liverpool full-back Andy Robertson says Marcus Rashford could "be the first Manchester United player to get a standing ovation" at Anfield for his free school meals campaign.

    Rashford, 22, campaigned for the government to allow about 1.3 million children to claim free school meal vouchers in England's summer holidays.

    And he has continued to work to reduce child food poverty.

    "What he's done was amazing, outstanding," Robertson told the Times.

    During the coronavirus lockdown the government provided vouchers to families whose children qualify for free meals, but it had insisted this would not continue into the summer holidays.

    This prompted England international Rashford to write an open letter to MPs, drawing on his own experiences of relying on free school meals and food banks growing up in Wythenshawe, Manchester. He called on the government to reverse its decision - which it did shortly after he spoke out.

    "The two words that everyone's saying [during the pandemic] are 'Marcus Rashford'," Scotland international Robertson added.

    "He made politicians overturn the decision [not to extend free school meals] because he wanted every kid to get fed.

    "Once the fans are back in, Marcus Rashford could be the first Manchester United player to get a standing ovation here. He'd definitely deserve it because thousands of families are getting fed now."

    Premier League games are being played behind closed doors because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    Liverpool welcome Manchester United to Anfield on 16 January.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/54217662


    Arsenal all the way!! (and Pakistan, of course!)

  34. #34
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    BREAKING: Manchester United and England forward Marcus Rashford has been awarded an MBE for services to vulnerable children in the UK during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Well deserved young man.



  35. #35
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    There are a number of charities trying to help the homeless and hungry long before Rashford was conceived; but no, a footballer stunt earns him an MBE. Nothing to do with his skin colour of course. Token award.

    What a joke.

  36. #36
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    Marcus Rashford has launched an online petition urging the Government to make three commitments to combat child food poverty.


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  37. #37
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    The Government has rejected calls from Marcus Rashford to extend the free school meals scheme to include half-term and Christmas holidays.


    Arsenal all the way!! (and Pakistan, of course!)

  38. #38
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    Rashford: Hungry children still worrying about next meal

    Hungry children are sitting in class worrying about what their younger siblings will eat at home later, says campaigning footballer Marcus Rashford.

    Rashford, who prompted a Westminster government U-turn on free meals over the summer holidays, says some cannot focus due to rumbling stomachs.

    Stepping up his child poverty campaign, he is urging UK ministers to offer free meals to 1.5 million more children.

    Wales has just said it will offer poor pupils free meals over the holidays.

    Northern Ireland, which has just announced a time limited lockdown in which schools will close, has said it will cover pupils' meals during this period, but nothing further is promised for the coming Christmas holiday.

    England's government has not committed any further resources to free school meals since schools returned in September.

    Rashford, who has told of his own impoverished childhood and formed a coalition of food campaigners under the name #endchildfoodpoverty, is now mounting a petition to Parliament.

    The petition calls for free school meals to be available for every child from a household on Universal Credit or equivalent.

    This would mean the meals reach an additional 1.5 million children aged seven to 16, his campaign said.

    He also wants holiday meals and activities to be expanded to an extra 1.1 million, and the value of healthy food vouchers for pregnant women to be increased to increased to £4.25 per week (up from £3.10)

    Rashford, who has just become an MBE for his work for vulnerable children, said many say that education is the most effective means of combating poverty.

    But he added: "Education is only effective when children can engage in learning.

    "Right now, a generation who have already been penalised during this pandemic with lack of access to educational resources are now back in school struggling to concentrate due to worry and the sound of their rumbling stomachs.

    "Whatever your feeling, opinion, or judgement, food poverty is never the child's fault.

    "Let's protect our young. Let's wrap arms around each other and stand together to say that this is unacceptable, that we are united in protecting our children."

    He added that millions of British children were finding themselves in very vulnerable circumstances, and were "beginning to question what it really means to be British".

    "I'm calling on you all today to help me prove to them that being British is something to be proud of," he said.

    Rashford added: "The school holidays used to be a highlight of the year for children. Today, it is met with anxiety from those as young as seven years old."

    Saffron, who is 15 and from Portsmouth, said: "After the U-turn this summer, it felt like the government finally understood that children can't be left to go hungry during the holidays.

    "But now we're back in the same position of having to ask for help. Covid-19 isn't going away, and even more families are struggling. Children need support during the holidays now more than ever."

    While 15-year-old Felix, who has eight siblings and lives in Norfolk, said: "For a really big family like mine, the holidays mean much more pressure on our parents - with me and my siblings at home there needs to be more meals, extra childcare, higher bills.

    "For families fallen on hard times and for parents have lost their jobs because of Covid, the pressure to provide during the holidays must be overwhelming."

    A spokesman for the Westminster government said it had taken substantial action to make sure children and their families did not go hungry.

    This included extending free school meals support to those eligible when schools were closed, extending welfare support by £9.3bn, funding councils to provide emergency assistance to families with food, essentials and meals, it said.

    "We know it has been a challenging time for families which is why we have increased the safety net available to them with income protection schemes, mortgage holidays and support for renters."

    https://www.bbc.com/news/education-54545772


    Arsenal all the way!! (and Pakistan, of course!)

  39. #39
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    At least 100 organisations have offered to supply free school meals during half term, inspired by footballer Marcus Rashford's campaign to end child food poverty.

    On Thursday, Rashford encouraged anyone wishing to join him to tweet using the hashtag #endchildfoodpoverty and he would retweet with a locator, saying he was "blown away" by the support he'd received.

    By 2pm on Friday, he had retweeted at least 80 such offers.

    Those offering to help ranged from cafes, sandwich shops and pubs, to charities, catering companies and restaurant chains, such as the Big Smoke Brewery.

    Some of those taking part are located in areas where they have to close due to new lockdown measures.

    Councils in Liverpool, Greater Manchester, Wigan and Doncaster are among those across the country to have pledged support, along with those of several London boroughs including Lambeth, Redbridge and Hammersmith and Fulham.

    One email, from a community organisation in Birkenhead, listed 17 local businesses that had promised to get involved.

    Some of the messages sent to the Manchester United and England striker were overtly political, critical of Wednesday's vote by MPs to reject an extension of free school meals over the school holidays until Easter 2021.

    It was rejected by 322 votes to 261, a majority of 61.

    Ministers have so far rejected calls to extend the provision of free school meals in England over the half-term and Christmas breaks, despite coming under pressure.

    Rashford's campaign, for which he recently received an MBE, calls for such meals to be expanded to all school holidays, and also given to anyone who gets Universal Credit or equivalent.

    In June, he successfully persuaded ministers to U-turn and offer children free school meals over the summer holidays.

    Other tweeters were full of praise for the footballer, praising his initiative in setting up the campaign earlier this year and maintaining it.

    https://news.sky.com/story/marcus-ra...-push-12112243


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  40. #40
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    Marcus Rashford: Free school meals campaign 'incredible' - Jurgen Klopp

    Marcus Rashford's campaign to provide free meals for children over half term is "absolutely incredible", says Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.

    The England and Manchester United striker, 22, is sharing messages on Twitter from local businesses that have pledged to support his campaign.

    A motion to extend free school meals over holidays during the Covid-19 pandemic was rejected by MPs.

    "He plays for United, which makes it really tricky," said Klopp.

    "But in these moments we are as footballers and as human beings always united.

    "What Marcus has started is absolutely incredible. It is so nice."

    Fish and chip shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes are among the hospitality venues to offer free meals.

    A growing number of councils across England, including Liverpool, have also pledged to provide food vouchers over half term.

    Rashford was made an MBE this month after his campaign resulted in the government reversing its decision and allowing about 1.3m children in England to be able to claim free school meal vouchers in the summer holidays.

    He called on the government to extend the scheme further but on Wednesday MPs rejected a Labour motion to offer free school meals during holidays until Easter 2021.

    Rashford volunteered at the food bank charity FareShare in Manchester on Thursday, where a new warehouse has been named after his mother, Melanie.

    "I hope his mother is really proud of him," said Klopp. "I don't know him but even I am proud of him.

    "Football can be really wondrous in moments and it shows that the subject is really, really serious and that is why everybody puts the rivalry aside and thinks about the more important things in life."

    "So I am really happy that Liverpool can show this solidarity in these moments."

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/54670212


    Arsenal all the way!! (and Pakistan, of course!)

  41. #41
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    The Leeds United squad have pledged £25,000 towards Marcus Rashford's campaign to end child food poverty in the UK.



  42. #42
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    Footballer Marcus Rashford has said he "couldn't be more proud to call myself British" after the community response to his campaign to get free meals for children during the half-term holiday.

    Councils and businesses have offered to provide food during the break for those who are entitled to free school meals.

    The England striker said he was "overwhelmed" by the support.

    It comes after a Labour bid to extend free school meals during the Covid-19 pandemic was rejected by MPs.

    MPs opposed the motion by 322 votes to 261 on Wednesday, with five Tory MPs rebelling.

    After a campaign led by Rashford earlier this year, the government changed its policy to allow 1.3 million children in England claim free school meal vouchers during the summer holidays.

    But the government has ruled out extending free meals nationwide beyond term time, saying it has given councils £63m for families facing financial difficulties due to pandemic restrictions, as well as increasing welfare support by £9.3bn.

    In Scotland and Wales, the governments have extended free meals during school holidays until Easter 2021, while in Northern Ireland they will be provided over the half-term break this month.

    Despite the vote by MPs on Wednesday, councils from both sides of the political divide have agreed to supply vouchers for pupils including those in Manchester, Birmingham and Kensington and Chelsea.

    Hillingdon Council, the local authority for Prime Minister Boris Johnson's constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip, said it will be offering free school meals to eligible children during half term.

    However, one of the area's MPs, David Simmonds - who represents Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner - said the scheme "on its own is not going to get the help to people that need it".

    He told Radio 4's Today programme that it was "a very complex situation" which was not addressed by a "one-size-fits-all response like free school meals", adding that more effective measures include the extension of Universal Credit and extra money for local authorities.

    Another Conservative MP, Ben Bradley, who has backed the government, defended his position after being accused of stigmatising working class families in a tweet.

    'Taken out of context'
    Commenting on a school in Mansfield, Mr Bradley said that "one kid lives in a crack den, another in a brothel". Another Twitter user responded, saying that "£20 cash direct to a crack den and a brothel sounds like the way forward with this one", to which Mr Bradley replied: "That's what FSM vouchers in the summer effectively did..."

    Mr Bradley said the tweet, which has since been deleted, had been "totally taken out of context".

    He told BBC Breakfast: "I was merely making the point that there are kids who live in really chaotic situations, really difficult lives, where actually giving them an unrestricted voucher to spend on whatever isn't helpful."

    He said the government had given money to local government which was better placed to provide targeted support, adding: "We need to wrap our arms, as a society, around those families."

    Labour called for him to apologise for the tweet, with deputy leader Angela Rayner saying: "Notwithstanding the fact that the vouchers in summer could only be used to purchase food, this stigmatisation of working class families is disgraceful and disgusting."

    Selaine Saxby, the Conservative MP for North Devon, also sparked anger after comments on local businesses giving free food away.

    A screenshot of a since-removed post in her name on Facebook said: "I am delighted our local businesses have bounced back so much after lockdown they are able to give away food for free, and very much hope they will not be seeking any further government support."

    The MP later claimed her comments were "out of context" and added: "I of course deeply regret any offence which may have been caused."

    Robert Halfon, who was one of the five Conservative MPs to vote in support of extending free school meal provision, called on Boris Johnson to meet Rashford to come up with a long-term strategy.

    He told BBC Breakfast: "It may be that they don't agree with everything that Marcus Rashford is proposing, but it would give us a chance to come up with a long-term plan to combat child food hunger once and for all."

    Nicola Mason, headteacher at the Chase Terrace Academy in Burntwood, Staffordshire, praised the Conservative-led county council in her area for providing vouchers over the holiday saying it was "absolutely the right thing to do".

    She told the Today programme: "Over the pandemic, it's definitely necessary. There are so many families that have found themselves in a crisis position where they can't feed their children as well as they could before."

    Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said the council's decision to back the campaign would provide meals for 19,800 pupils in the city, while Conservative Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said the government should have made "a clear decision" on whether it would or would not fund free school meals during the holidays "well in advance".

    Fish and chip shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes are among the hospitality venues to offer free meals.

    Rebecca Horton, who is owner of the Taste Sandwich Bar in Dingle in Liverpool, said she signed up to Rashford's campaign because she comes from a deprived area and wanted to support her community.

    "I see families struggling, I see children hungry - it was an absolute no brainer for me to jump on the bandwagon, rally round and organise something," she told the Today programme.

    Rashford, who became an MBE earlier this year, said: "Even at their lowest point, having felt the devastating effects of the pandemic, local businesses have wrapped arms around their communities today, catching vulnerable children as they fell.

    "I couldn't be more proud to call myself British tonight."

    He added if people wanted "to talk about 'superstars' and 'celebrities'" they should look no further than his Twitter feed, where he has been sharing messages from businesses and councils offering to help.

    Rashford has been hailed a hero with celebrities and politicians praising his campaign, although some Conservative MPs have accused him of "virtue signalling".

    Ex-England striker and Match of the Day host Gary Lineker tweeted: "Extraordinary from a remarkable young man."

    Fellow Mancunian Tim Burgess, lead singer of The Charlatans, said: "Wow, Marcus Rashford is a true hero of our times. So many MPs should feel shame over the fact that a footballer is helping the needy, more than they are."

    https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-54669929
    Last edited by MenInG; 24th October 2020 at 23:51.


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  43. #43
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    Boris Johnson failed to reply to 'personal' letter sent by Marcus Rashford asking for help feeding hungry children

    Boris Johnson failed to reply to a "personal" letter sent by Marcus Rashford in which the footballer asked the prime minister to join a taskforce he created to help tackle child food poverty.

    Sky News understands that the letter was sent privately in September alongside a public letter that thanked the government for the voucher scheme over the summer, which helped families struggling to put food on the table.

    The private letter to Number 10 said the vouchers - which Rashford campaigned for - were only a short term solution, and went on to call for "teamwork" to help feed hungry children in the long term.

    Sky's chief political correspondent Jon Craig said: "Right at the beginning of September Mr Rashford wrote two letters.

    "One, a public letter to all MPs asking for support.

    "And then a personal letter to the PM, in which he thanked the prime minister for putting allegiance aside and taking swift action in the summer - crediting him for positively impacting millions of children's lives across the UK.

    "He said he was grateful and he said the voucher scheme was only a short term solution, and that we have to work towards implementing a long term solution.

    "He shared some stories of the families he had met called for teamwork asked if he would join the his taskforce, it's that letter to which he has not received a reply, according to the Rashford team."

    In response, a government spokesperson said they were committed to making sure the most vulnerable were protected, and added that free school meals will continue during term-time.

    It comes after a Conservative MP who sparked anger after commenting on local businesses donating free meals to children over the half-term holiday said she regretted causing offence.

    After dozens of organisations offered to help, Selaine Saxby, who is Tory MP for North Devon, posted a comment on Facebook which seemed to question the gesture.

    She wrote: "I am delighted our local businesses have bounced back so much after lockdown they are able to give away food for free, and very much hope they will not be seeking any further government support."

    Her post has since been deleted.

    In a statement, Ms Saxby said her comments were "out of context" adding: "I of course deeply regret any offence which may have been caused."

    Another Tory MP, Ben Bradley, also said his words were taken "out of context" after a comment he made on social media seemed to imply that money from free school meal vouchers ended up in "crack dens and brothels".

    The MP for Mansfield replied to a tweet in which another user described the free school meals programme as "£20 cash direct to a crack den and a brothel", writing: "That's what FSM vouchers in the summer effectively did..."

    Mr Bradley later claimed he was trying to say that giving children who live in "chaotic" situations an "unrestricted voucher to spend on whatever isn't helpful".

    Labour MPs pointed out the vouchers in summer could only be used to buy food, and asked for evidence of abuse of the voucher system.

    https://news.sky.com/story/boris-joh...ldren-12113225

  44. #44
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    Manchester United to provide 5,000 school meals during October half-term

    Manchester United will provide 5,000 meals to six schools and other charities during the October half-term holiday.

    The meals will be prepared at Old Trafford and distributed to the club's partner schools in the Manchester United Foundation as an initiative which the club say "does not solve the issue locally but will make a significant difference to the lives of hundreds of families across Greater Manchester".

    United forward Marcus Rashford - who was recently awarded an MBE for his work in tackling child poverty - has proposed extending the free school meals provision for those on Universal Credit or equivalent into half-terms and the Christmas holidays.

    A recent House of Commons measure to extend the free school meals policy until the Easter holiday was put forward by the Labour Party but defeated by a majority of 322-261 votes. Since then, hundreds of local businesses have volunteered to provide free meals for children in the October half-term holiday.

    John Shiels, Chief Executive, Manchester United Foundation said: "We're incredibly proud and humbled to be working with FareShare over October half-term.

    "This initiative will go a long way to ensuring that pupils from our partner schools and families using local food-banks have fresh meals to eat, during what we know is a difficult time for many.

    "We've seen first-hand how children from socially challenged backgrounds can be even more vulnerable when they're not in school, it's therefore imperative to be present in their lives throughout the school holidays, showing that we care and the Foundation is always here to support."

    The initiative follows on from the successful collaboration to provide 60,000 meals to NHS staff in May between United, Manchester United Foundation, Mealforce and the club's catering supplier, Bidfood.

    Collette Roche, Chief Operating Officer at United said: "With our teams back playing, the attention for many has returned to what is happening on the pitch. But our work to help support those in need has not stopped and it will not stop as we face into the winter and the restrictions continue to impact our local communities.

    "Many of Manchester's children are going hungry and they are particularly vulnerable during school holidays when they cannot benefit from the meal voucher programme. In parallel with the brilliant work being done individually by Marcus Rashford, we're proud that the club continues to step in alongside FareShare, the Foundation and their partner schools to help fill this void."

    https://www.skysports.com/football/n...ober-half-term

  45. #45
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    Marcus Rashford: One million people sign footballer's petition to extend free school meals

    More than a million people have now signed Marcus Rashford's petition calling for the government to extend free school meals.

    The number of signatories reached 1,001,500 at 5pm on Wednesday - two weeks since it was set up by the footballer as part of his campaign to end child food poverty.

    So far, Boris Johnson has resisted making a similar U-turn to the one earlier this year, when he extended free school meals through the summer holidays due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Labour tried to force the prime minister to do so through the Christmas and February half-term breaks too, but were defeated in a Commons vote last week.

    Mr Johnson then came under pressure from some of his own MPs to change his mind, with a junior member of the government quitting over the issue.

    In his petition, Rashford says ministers should "support vulnerable children" by implementing three recommendations from the National Food Strategy.

    Expand free school meals to all under 16s where a parent or guardian is in receipt of Universal Credit or an equivalent benefit

    Provide meals and activities during all holidays

    Increase the value of Healthy Start vouchers to at least £4.25 per week, and expand the scheme.

    It is only the fifth time an online parliament petition has reached over 1 million signatures.

    After the milestone was reached, a Labour frontbencher signalled they would try again to force the government to change tack if Mr Johnson fails to.

    "If the government doesn't U-turn on their refusal to feed hungry kids during school holidays Labour will force another vote on this in the House of Commons," shadow environment secretary Luke Pollard said.

    Rashford tweeted earlier: "Let's take a second to remember that a lot of families in need will not have access to the internet. They can't sign petitions or scroll down my Twitter.

    "Their voices cannot be heard so we have to use ours to communicate on all of this amazing local help. Thank you all."

    In his last interview on the subject, Mr Johnson admitted he hasn't spoken to Rashford since June, but did praise the Manchester United and England star's "terrific" campaign.

    "I totally understand the issue of holiday hunger; it is there, we have to deal with it - the debate is how do you deal with it," he said on Monday.

    "We're very proud of the support that we've given, I've said repeatedly throughout this crisis that the government will support families and businesses, jobs and livelihoods across the country.

    "We're going to continue to do that. We don't want to see children going hungry this winter, this Christmas.

    "Certainly not as a result of any inattention by this government. You're not going to see that."

    https://news.sky.com/story/marcus-ra...meals-12117113

  46. #46
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  47. #47
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  48. #48
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    Marcus Rashford welcomes Government U-turn on free school meals at Christmas

    England and Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has welcomed the Government's U-turn over providing free meals to disadvantaged children during the Christmas holidays.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson phoned Rashford on Saturday to alert him to the decision to lay on £170m of extra funding for the measure.

    The 23-year-old received the call after he played in United's 3-1 Premier League win against Everton at Goodison Park.

    Rashford said he was "so proud" of those who had united behind his campaign and that he was "overwhelmed by the outpouring of empathy and understanding", promising his supporters to "fight for the rest of my life" to end child hunger in the UK.

    In a statement, he added: "Following the game today, I had a good conversation with the Prime Minister to better understand the proposed plan, and I very much welcome the steps that have been taken to combat child food poverty in the UK.

    "There is still so much more to do, and my immediate concern is the approximate 1.7 million children who miss out on free school meals, holiday provision and Healthy Start vouchers because their family income isn't quite low enough, but the intent the Government have shown today is nothing but positive and they should be recognised for that.

    "The steps made today will improve the lives of near 1.7 million children in the UK over the next 12 months, and that can only be celebrated."

    The funds will pay for 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, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced.

    As part of the package, Healthy Start payments, which help expectant mothers and those with young children on low incomes and in receipt of benefits to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, are set to rise from £3.10 to £4.25 a week from April 2021.

    Making the announcement, Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said: "We want to make sure vulnerable people feel cared for throughout this difficult time and, above all, no one should go hungry or be unable to pay their bills this winter."

    The U-turn comes after the Government last month whipped Conservative MPs to vote against a Labour motion in the House of Commons calling for the extension of free school meal provision following Rashford's campaign.

    Businesses and councils across the country stepped into the breach following the result, announcing they would fund meals during the October half-term for those who needed them.

    Rashford's petition for pupils in disadvantaged families to have their meals paid for during the holidays went on to attract more than one million signatures - mass backing which piled pressure on Downing Street to commit to more support.

    The DWP confirmed the £170m worth of winter grants would be administered by councils in England rather than schools.

    The funding will be ring-fenced, with at least 80 per cent earmarked to support with food and bills, and will cover the period to the end of March.

    Local authorities will receive the funding at the beginning of December.

    https://www.skysports.com/football/n...s-at-christmas


    Arsenal all the way!! (and Pakistan, of course!)

  49. #49
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    What a legend.

  50. #50
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    Even though this is a great cause , ultimately the parents are responsible for their own kids, the welfare system already supports the people.

  51. #51
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    Arsenal all the way!! (and Pakistan, of course!)

  52. #52
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    The Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford is launching a book club so that all children can experience the escapism of reading.

    Teaming up with Macmillan Children’s Books (MCB) to promote reading and literacy among children from all socio-economic backgrounds, Rashford said he wished he had the chance to read more as a child but his family had to prioritise food over books when it came to budgeting.

    MCB said there will be a particular focus on getting books into the hands of children from vulnerable and under-privileged backgrounds.

    The first title of the partnership, YOU ARE A CHAMPION: Unlock Your Potential, Find Your Voice And Be The BEST You Can Be – an illustrated non-fiction title aimed at young people aged 11-16 – will be published in May 2021. Each chapter will begin with a story from Rashford’s own life and will cover topics such as the value of education, positive mentality, understanding culture, and female role models.

    It will be co-created with the journalist Carl Anka, and Katie Warriner, a performance psychologist. Two fiction titles for readers aged seven and up will follow later in 2021 and 2022. Next year will also see the launch of the Marcus Rashford Book Club, a reader recommends programme publishing front list titles from MCB’s successful list.

    Rashford said: “I only started reading at 17, and it completely changed my outlook and mentality. I just wish I was offered the opportunity to really engage with reading more as a child, but books were never a thing we could budget for as a family when we needed to put food on the table.

    “There were times where the escapism of reading could have really helped me. I want this escapism for all children. Not just those that can afford it. We know there are over 380,000 children across the UK today that have never owned a book, children that are in vulnerable environments. That has to change. My books are, and always will be, for every child, even if I have to deliver them myself. We will reach them.”

    Rashford said acceptance and acknowledgment are a key focus of the project, adding: “Let our children read that they are not alone and enable them to dream. Equip them for obstacles and adversities they might face. Allow them to relate to characters by making sure people of all race, religion and gender are depicted correctly and representative of modern society. No matter where you grow up, talent should be recognised and championed.”

    Rashford, 23, has drawn widespread praise for highlighting the issue of child food poverty and his campaign resulted in the government back-tracking to announce free meals would be provided to disadvantaged children over the Christmas holidays. The player was also recently awarded an MBE after forcing the government U-turn on free school meal vouchers.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.the...ience-escapism
    Last edited by MenInG; 17th November 2020 at 16:10.


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  53. #53
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    Maro Itoje questions the media over 'inconsistent' Marcus Rashford treatment

    Maro Itoje has questioned the media over the treatment of Marcus Rashford following his work highlighting the issue of child food poverty.

    Manchester United striker Rashford has drawn widespread praise for highlighting the problems facing underprivileged families, and getting the Government to back-track and announce free meals for disadvantaged children over the Christmas holidays.

    However, Itoje feels the 23-year-old's influential campaign has brought with it "inconsistent" media scrutiny compared to reporting on other white athletes.

    "The media arguably have a large responsibility more than most as they shape the public's views and perception. I have seen some of the stuff regarding Marcus Rashford and some of the brilliant things he is doing," he told Sky Sports News.

    "It makes me ask some questions about what is the intent behind it. It's not the first time. Raheem Sterling highlighted some of these issues and the inconsistencies with regards to their reporting on black athletes compared to white athletes.

    "This isn't just tabloid and sports media. This is often the same when just reporting news and even the criminal justice system. It is far and wide and all-encompassing thing we need to try and get right."

    https://www.skysports.com/rugby-unio...ford-treatment


    Arsenal all the way!! (and Pakistan, of course!)


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