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Free school meals: Bake Off star Candice Brown offers lunches to schoolchildren amid government backlash

Roisin O'Connor
·2-min read
GBBO star Candice Brown has pledged to feed school children during the holidays (Getty Images)
GBBO star Candice Brown has pledged to feed school children during the holidays (Getty Images)

Great British Bake Off star Candice Brown has announced her intention to give away free meals to disadvantaged children.

Brown’s news was a response to the government’s controversial decision to reject a motion inspired by Manchester United star Marcus Rashford’s campaign to extend the free school meal scheme, to support struggling families during half term.

Conservative MPs rejected the Labour motion on child hunger by 322 votes to 261.

Brown, 35, shared a statement on Instagram that said her pub would offer lunches to those in need during the half-term period.

“Following the government’s s*** show of a decision this week, we @thegreenmanneversholt will be giving out packed lunches to children of families who need the extra support during half term,” she said.

“The pub is shut Monday and Tuesday but I will be there should you require a lunch. Contact me on here or any social media platform or the pub and pass this on to anyone you think may need it.”

She also shared a screenshot of a petition that calls for an end to child food poverty and encouraged her followers to sign it.

Brown is best-known for winning the seventh series of Bake Off in 2016.

Rashford has vowed not to give up after his campaign was rejected in the Commons earlier this week.

“Put aside all the noise, the digs, the party politics and let’s focus on the reality,” the 22-year-old wrote on Twitter.

“A significant number of children are going to bed tonight not only hungry but feeling like they do not matter because of comments that have been made today.”

He continued: “We must stop stigmatising, judging and pointing fingers. Our views are being clouded by political affiliation. This is not politics, this is humanity.”

More than 200 children’s authors and illustrators, including Shirley Hughes, Sir Philip Pullman and Malorie Blackman, signed an open letter on Friday 23 October condemning the government’s vote.

The letter, which was put together by children’s author Anne Booth, said: “Regardless of our individual personal backgrounds, political and religious positions, we all recognise the unique position children and their families have been placed in because of this pandemic, and believe that no child in this nation should go hungry this winter.”