Cheshire East Council pledges to support free meals voucher scheme

Cheshire East Councillor Anthony Chritchley

Councillor Anthony Critchley

In a press release issued today (October 24th) Cheshire East Council has confirmed it will extend a voucher scheme offering free meals to children.

The news comes after Labour Councillor Anthony Critchley called on the authority to continue to provide the meal vouchers during the school holidays.

Councillor Anthony Critchley, who represents Crewe Central continued with praise on the community:

When I wrote my letter to Sam and the Council, it was in good faith that they would acknowledge and listen to the request. So, I am over the moon that something has been put in place and I thank the Cheshire East Leadership for this. I created a Facebook group shortly after publishing my letter on social media, and I was overwhelmed with the response, hitting over 100 members within a couple of hours and now has between 15-20 local businesses offering their service to support children. I know from the Beechmere fire last year that Crewe and Nantwich people are the best when it comes to giving, this just re-affirms it! I think this has initiated a platform for people to organise, with lots of community group leaders involved, again, another positive.

The announcement comes after local Conservative MP Dr Kieran Mullan voted against a Labour motion in the House of Commons this week to extend free school meals outside of term time

Councillor Jill Rhodes, Cheshire East Councillor for Crewe North Ward; Cabinet member for Public Health and Crewe Town Council Leader said:

We are of course, delighted that the Council has heard us, listened and acted in the interest of the children in Cheshire East and particularly in Crewe.Crewe Town Council have already agreed to support projects from the Wishing Well, based at Jubilee House who have been an outstanding community resource, especially throughout this year. As well as the ‘Lunch Crewe’ being ran by St Andrew’s Church on Bedford Street. The latter offering a free children’s packed lunch during the school holidays, between 12-1pm.

The MP cause further controversy when he took to Facebook to defend his decision.

Councillor Sally Handley who represents Crewe St Barnabas and is one of the Authority’s Mental Health Champions, said: 

Research shows that there is a clear link between poverty and mental health and wellbeing in that children living in poverty are more likely to suffer from mental health problems which in turn can disrupt education, attainment and future prospects. I’m very pleased that Cheshire East Council will fill the void and ensure that no child goes hungry ready for a return to education after half-term.0

Former Crewe and Nantwich MP, Laura Smith who now represents the Crewe South who supported Councillor Critchley appeal said:

What was clear from Wednesday night’s vote is that our MP, Kieran Mullan has no connection to the Crewe and Nantwich community, if he did, he would know how strongly we feel about the health and wellbeing of our children. He would also understand the huge difficulties some families face in the best of times, let alone when their wages have been slashed or they are experiencing redundancy. Most families in receipt of free school meals have a working parent, it is not their fault that work simply doesn’t pay in some cases.

For more information on the group please visit their Facebook page via the link below.

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