Free school meals and summer holidays

(347 Posts)
McNewPants2013 Fri 19-Jul-13 20:51:00

I was thinking about this today.

I will have an extra £10 per week dude to not paying for school meals, but if people are entitled to FSM I can see many families struggling to provide these extra meals at home.

Do you think that school canteens should open or the parents get extra money to cover the shortfall.

IneedAyoniNickname Fri 19-Jul-13 20:58:39

I was thinking about this just now. My dc have fsm, so I have to provide 20 meals per week more than normal, for 7 weeks. I reckon I'll end up living on rice/pasta/bread for most of the summer, but the dc will be fed properly.
Do I think I should get extra money to cover this? No! although I'd take it if it were offered

SaucyJack Fri 19-Jul-13 21:01:17

No, and no.

That's because I don't see it as a shortfall. It's the temporary loss of an nice extra bonus.

Not sure what could be done on a national level, but I do know high school near us have arrange food bank deliveries/collection for their FSM pupils. And a local church is providing a free packed lunch for FSM pupils at my children primary school.

Are you joking saucyjack.

How is it an 'extra bonus' for some children to be feed.

Arisbottle Fri 19-Jul-13 21:04:48

It does worry me that children go hungry because of this. Perhaps if schools were used for holiday clubs the children could be fed this way

phantomnamechanger Fri 19-Jul-13 21:05:22

theres a MNer who has got a tent in a field lined up and is planning on cooking meals for the kids in her area for exactly this reason. I can't remember who it is, and cant remember whether she has fundraised or begged for donations etc, but credit to her for doing something. I think food banks will see an increase in demand over this period.

cheerfulweather Fri 19-Jul-13 21:05:32

That sounds like a nice idea, wheredidIputit.

kim147 Fri 19-Jul-13 21:06:16

There was a report on Look North tonight saying food banks are expecting an increase this summer.

But it's hard for lots of people who aren't entitled to FSM but still struggle with the cost of summer.

Tough times.

Bogeyface Fri 19-Jul-13 21:06:51

That's because I don't see it as a shortfall. It's the temporary loss of an nice extra bonus

What the ACTUAL FUCK?!

FSM is the difference between some children being fed and not eating! To families already on the breadline and struggling to manage they can be a literal life saver. What if, for the school holidays, so a quarter of the year, your food bills more than doubled for no other reason that it is the holidays, how would you manage then?

That is the most fucked up thing I have ever read!

Euphemia Fri 19-Jul-13 21:07:00

I guess the system is costed for the 38 weeks of the school year and would be unaffordable to run over the summer/year round.

daisychicken Fri 19-Jul-13 21:08:41

Our school have sent emails/letters out saying that families eligible for FSM can get vouchers from the council help point for the food bank over the summer holidays.

phantomnamechanger Fri 19-Jul-13 21:08:41

"extra bonus" you must be joking.
have you really no idea that for some children it is the only proper meal they get a day, without which they would be iller and more malnourished than they are.
can you really not see that some parents will struggle to find the money to feed their DC this holiday, never mind thinking about budgeting for days out, treats, new uniform, emergencies

EeTraceyluv Fri 19-Jul-13 21:09:04

At the risk of sounding like a rabid DM reader, we send or two with packed lunches because, despite working, we can't afford school dinners. No change here - oh except for childcare, which presumably, the majority of people who get FSM don't need to worry about? Luckily, we have sorted most of it out, and won't have to pay.

Euphemia Fri 19-Jul-13 21:10:03

Perhaps if schools were used for holiday clubs the children could be fed this way.

Would the neediest families be able to afford holiday clubs? If they were to be funded from the public purse, which one? Council? Government?

No answers here - just thinking about how this could work. smile

SaucyJack Fri 19-Jul-13 21:10:38

I was a single mother on IS for five years.

Not only did we not starve in the school holidays, I didn't actual take up the FSM in the first place.

Some of you need to stop with all the middle class hand wringing.

Most people on benefits on perfectly decent parents who are more than capable of making sure their own children get fed without your supervision.

SaucyJack Fri 19-Jul-13 21:11:03

scuse typos.

phantomnamechanger Fri 19-Jul-13 21:12:39

SJ -well bully for you.
You are not speaking for all FSM families, not by a long streak

youbethemummylion Fri 19-Jul-13 21:13:47

I am not entitled to FSM I will be paying out more each day for holiday childcare than I am bringing in. If people in receipt of FSM are going to get extra help in the holidays I think this should also apply to working parents who cannot cover the cost of holiday childcare.

cheerfulweather Fri 19-Jul-13 21:14:04

But that cannot be the case for everybody, decent or otherwise, saucyjack. I'm ashamed I'd never considered what happens in the school holidays, so am glad for this thread.

phantomnamechanger Fri 19-Jul-13 21:14:09

SJ -but because you did not rely on FSM in term time, there would have been no change to your food bill in holiday time. imagine your food bill having to rise by £30 or more a week when money is already tight.

Bogeyface Fri 19-Jul-13 21:17:40

SJ As someone who's children have only just come off FSM after 9 months of them thanks to redundancy, I can tell you that there is no middle class hand wringing from me.

Just because you manage doesnt mean that everyone else does, you dont know my situation. FYI I had a mortgage to cover out of my benefits, which meant that I was immediately worse off than someone renting as HB pays a teeny amount towards the interest, which is naff all at the moment, and I have to find the repayment for the capital loan. My children would have been fed, of course they would, but it was a damned sight easier with them having FSM. I am lucky, we are now a working family, but I cant imagine who much harder it would be for those who are already struggling to suddenly have to buy so much more with no more money every week.

HappyDoll Fri 19-Jul-13 21:18:40

It is not a right, it is a benefit.
It has been asked how can people budget for days outs and treats when struggling to feed their children? Sorry, why exactly are you thinking about days out and treats when you can't feed you children?
FSM mitigates the expense of providing an out-of-home meal which are often far more expensive than a portion from the family meal. There is absolutely no reason why parents should not be expected to feed their own children when they are in their home.
Well said saucyjack

CharlieAlphaKiloEcho Fri 19-Jul-13 21:19:38

My DC get FSM but I would never expect to have food provided for them during the holidays.

I make sure I plan in the run up to the holidays and stash extra things in preparation.

I use a website selling discontinued and short/out of date stuff and have found some great bargains - things like 10 packs of savoury rice for £1. Really great for lunch at home or pack it up for the park.

Also got 10 tins of mandarins in juice for £1. My son would live on those alone!

I do notice the cost but just work harder to budget it.

Bogeyface Fri 19-Jul-13 21:21:07

There is absolutely no reason why parents should not be expected to feed their own children when they are in their home.

And where is this food to come from? Where is the money to buy this food to come from? Do you think that people who are already on the bones of their arses thanks to cuts in benefit and fuel poverty can just pull tenners out of their arses?

Food banks will be overwhelmed, and thousands of children will be desperately hungry. That is fact and whether you like it or not, you live in a country where that is happening and you have just put your cross in the "I dont give a fuck, I'm alright Jack" box.

SaucyJack Fri 19-Jul-13 21:21:53

Five extra lunches a week do not cost 30 quid.

Sorry, but I cannot be bothered to argue with you if you're just going to talk in hyperbolics.

We didn't have a flat screen telly or foreign holidays every year but we were never ever in the position of having to go without food, and neither is/was any of the other single parents I know well. I didn't receive anything in maintenance either. Benefits are simply not that tight.

Bogeyface Fri 19-Jul-13 21:23:41

5 DINNERS, not lunches, and that is PER CHILD.

If you, like me, have 4 children at school that is 20 extra meals a week, so yes £30 is a reasonable estimate.

And before you ask, I had my children when my husband and I were working, no financial worries and didnt claim anything. It can happen to anyone, not everyone on JSA is a workshy scrounger.

HappyDoll Fri 19-Jul-13 21:23:48

So bogeyface who should feed these children whose parents can't budget wisely enough? Me? I'm unemployed btw - a full time student with 2 dcs.

McNewPants2013 Fri 19-Jul-13 21:25:47

It does worry me that some children will go with out ( but normally it will be the parents that go without)

That £10 I spend can be spent on sandwich things and which will be used for both DC.

Bogeyface Fri 19-Jul-13 21:27:54

So now they are stupid as well as poor!

How do you know they can't budget? How do you know what someones financial situation is? As I said, when redundancy hit this house we had a mortgage to pay. Selling was not an option as without essential work being done, we would be in negative equity. We are immediately worse off than renters in our situation because they get the majority of their rent paid via HB.

Transport costs differ for each person, fuel costs differ depending on the type of home and the area you live in. Food costs differ massively according to area.

A sweeping "they just cant budget" is bullshit.

cheerfulweather Fri 19-Jul-13 21:30:04

"So bogeyface who should feed these children whose parents can't budget wisely enough?"

Wow at this attitude, just wow. sad

AdmiralData Fri 19-Jul-13 21:30:04

Charlie, what is the name of that website? I live in a deprived area and ALOT of families are going to be hit hard this summer, my church donates as much as possible to the food bank and I want to get as much for my cash for them as I can, thanks smile

martini84 Fri 19-Jul-13 21:30:52

I don't think this is going to end well. I am sure you will get people from the benefits thread on here saying those on benefits are minted and should not have any problem feeding their children.
I imagine it could be tough but I suppose at leastt energy bills are lower in the summer.

fedupofnamechanging Fri 19-Jul-13 21:31:10

If you are deemed by the state to be poor enough to need fsm, then I don't see why the govt suddenly thinks those people will suddenly be able to provide extra meals without a rise in income. I think people should be given additional benefits to cover children's lunches during the holidays.

Bogeyface Fri 19-Jul-13 21:32:02

Admiral I use

But their postage charges can be high as they base it on weight so clubbing together with others to order can be a good bet.

AdmiralData Fri 19-Jul-13 21:32:06

On a further note I am fucking appalled at some of the attitudes on here. How can a family budget money it does not have ffs.

LEMisdisappointed Fri 19-Jul-13 21:34:54

It just breaks my heart to think that there are children in this country going without food sad and to see people getting all on their high horse "not on my tax bill" makes me sick to my stomach.

Chocovore Fri 19-Jul-13 21:35:05

This is the weirdest thread. The clue is in the title people. Free SCHOOL meals. It doesn't apply if you are not at school, for whatever reason - holidays, sickness , pre-schoolers, post schoolers, home-educated children, traveller families, truants, expulsions, bereavement leave etc.

AdmiralData Fri 19-Jul-13 21:37:27

Thanks Bogey, just browsing and soom good bargains on there!

HappyDoll Fri 19-Jul-13 21:39:23

Don't misquote me, I haven't called anyone stupid. I simply don't understand the attitude that it is someone else's responsibility to provide. There are already rl examples here of successful budgeting and planning, I could share my own but I won't; safe to say I know it can be done on the absolute bare minimum. I am not professing to understand everyone's personal accounts but I am sure of one thing; if I had to lose money on an investment in order to ensure I was in a position to feed my children, I would. That responsibility is mine and mine alone.

CharlieAlphaKiloEcho Fri 19-Jul-13 21:39:57

Same as Bogeyface admiral But check with your food bank that they take out of date stuff before you order any.

Not everything is out of date btw. I'm not at all worried about best befoe dates though. Especially with canned or dried goods.

I got some catering size custard powder, angel delight, low sugar jelly etc and some little pots from asda so that's the treats sorted for the next 6 months probably! The giant bag of custard powder was only £1.98 and makes 1000 portions I think.

I understand some families will struggle. If I wasn't anal about stashing food I probably would too. I just don't see how it would work to pay families more over the holidays.

Bogeyface Fri 19-Jul-13 21:40:56

For the hard of thinking

the above is an article about the origins of FSM, the blasted scroungers have been around for years!

Bogeyface Fri 19-Jul-13 21:41:31
CharlieAlphaKiloEcho Fri 19-Jul-13 21:42:02

Same as Bogeyface admiral But check with your food bank that they take out of date stuff before you order any.

Not everything is out of date btw. I'm not at all worried about best befoe dates though. Especially with canned or dried goods.

I got some catering size custard powder, angel delight, low sugar jelly etc and some little pots from asda so that's the treats sorted for the next 6 months probably! The giant bag of custard powder was only £1.98 and makes 1000 portions I think.

I understand some families will struggle. If I wasn't anal about stashing food I probably would too. I just don't see how it would work to pay families more over the holidays.

Bogeyface Fri 19-Jul-13 21:44:57

I would not be "losing money on an investment"! I would be homeless and still owing the bank thousands of pounds that I dont have! What a stupid thing to say!

kilmuir Fri 19-Jul-13 21:44:59

whatever next???

McNewPants2013 Fri 19-Jul-13 21:45:02

A split opinion.

Bogeyface Fri 19-Jul-13 21:48:38

It doesnt have to be cash payments though. In the war there were "British Restaurants" in every town that offered cheap, nutritious meals as it was cheaper and more economical to cook in bulk. A similar arrangement could work now, with those in receipt of certain benefits being able to eat there once a day.

Ok, so I know that idea isnt that simple, but my point is that it is providing food that is the priority, it doesnt necessarily mean handing over more cash which could be abused by some.

IneedAyoniNickname Fri 19-Jul-13 21:50:01

Thanks for the link to that food site, I'll be looking more closely at it when I can afford to shop again.

HappyDoll Fri 19-Jul-13 21:50:36

I am shocked at the lack of ability to answer a direct question or deal with a direct point and instead devolve into name calling and insults. This is an incredibly important debate that will never be correctly aired with those dull tactics.
FSM (as pointed out in the sparsely referenced linked article) are about providing nutrition to underfed children. I support this but don't you think it is more important to understand exactly why these children are underfed? That involves asking very searching, detailed and difficult questions about the parents' finances.

fedupofnamechanging Fri 19-Jul-13 22:00:22

I don't think it is that difficult to explain Happy - some children are underfed because the cost of living I'd rising and benefits are being cut!

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Fri 19-Jul-13 22:01:32

The thought of little children going without an adequate meal a day for six weeks makes me feel sick. It will happen. They will be hungry. I know children who will be affected this summer.
If anyone is fucking stupid and wicked enough to think FSM are a 'nice bonus' then they are a deluded twat at best.

Xmasbaby11 Fri 19-Jul-13 22:02:22

I think parents have to factor in the varying costs over the whole year - I mean there are frequent holidays, not just the summer. In the holidays they are saving travel costs to school, potential day trips, and having to wear out an expensive school uniform.

I'm not saying it isn't difficult for parents to provide for their children, but there is only so much the government can provide.

HappyDoll Fri 19-Jul-13 22:06:03

Like I said, searching, detailed and difficult questions. Your simple explanation is non-effective in providing any answer what-so-ever.

And again with the name calling and insults. It doesn't help.

HappyDoll Fri 19-Jul-13 22:07:29

And for the record, I am also sickened to the core that children may go hungry this summer.

McBalls Fri 19-Jul-13 22:09:24

Fsm are the only meals some kids get? They'd be 'even more' malnourished and ill than they already are without them?

No fucking wonder there's such a piss-poor uptake of fsm if that's the perception.

Fsm eligible ones not = feckless.

McBalls Fri 19-Jul-13 22:09:36

Does not*

Bogeyface Fri 19-Jul-13 22:11:24

HAppy Rather than criticise the article, or insist that difficult and detailed questions must be asked, why not just answer the question?

What can be done during the school holidays for families that, for whatever reason, need FSM in order to manage?

Stop giving politicians answers and trying to avoid saying what you really think.

somewheresomehow Fri 19-Jul-13 22:13:27

asda on a sunday around half 3/ 4 just before they shut you can get loads of really cheap stuff
im not sure about kids staving over the summer because of no fsm hmm

Bogeyface Fri 19-Jul-13 22:14:02

Oh and further to your comment above about costs of a FSM being less than the cost of a portion of a family meal. You are right that to a parent paying for a SM, it is far more, £2.10 in our school. But it isnt that cost for FSM as they are paid at cost price, which often less than a pound and in some places less than 50p per portion. The budgets for SM are woeful.

Bogeyface Fri 19-Jul-13 22:14:40

And how do you get to Asda on a Sunday at 3:30 when you are already struggling for money?

tethersend Fri 19-Jul-13 22:16:09

"That responsibility is mine and mine alone."

I disagree with this. Feeding hungry children is the responsibility of a first-world state. Even if the children are hungry through their parents' recklessness. Which most of them certainly are not.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Fri 19-Jul-13 22:16:10

McBalls, of course not all children on FSM will go hungry this summer but make no mistake that plenty will. Have you ever seen little children sit quietly at a table, no chatter at all and just devour everything in front of them? Stopping only to refill their plates and get more for younger siblings. Eating perhaps more than you could manage in a sitting. It is strange and frightening. Really eerie compared to how my children behave at mealtime. FSM are essential for many.

SaucyJack Fri 19-Jul-13 22:16:33

Walk Bogeyface......?

parkin2010 Fri 19-Jul-13 22:16:49

Sorry but as someone who has been on income support benefits for 18 months in the past, there is no reason why you shouldn't be able to feed your child adequately unless you are buying unnecessary things. I don't think it's right we make condescending excuses for those who don't budget properly or spend benefit meant primarily for their children on themselves. I can't comment about other types of benefit as I haven't ever received them so I have no understanding of what money etc for those is like.

EeTraceyluv Fri 19-Jul-13 22:17:39

And where is this food to come from? Where is the money to buy this food to come from? Do you think that people who are already on the bones of their arses thanks to cuts in benefit and fuel poverty can just pull tenners out of their arses
Equally, where are people like 'us' who have seen our wages stay shit but everything else go up beyond belief expected to cope with six weeks of holiday when we cannot all get the time off? As I said upthread we have juggled and can just about do it but I know plenty who can't

Sorry but it needs to be said. people in 'poverty' are not only benefit claimants.

SaucyJack Fri 19-Jul-13 22:18:03

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Fri 19-Jul-13 22:18:31

"That responsibility is mine and mine alone."

I disagree with this. Feeding hungry children is the responsibility of a first-world state. Even if the children are hungry through their parents' recklessness. Which most of them certainly are not.


EeTraceyluv Fri 19-Jul-13 22:18:56

My dh is in sainsburys or tescos every night at 7 to get the 'bargains'. Oh yes, we have a car (just) We need it for work

ImNotBloody14 Fri 19-Jul-13 22:19:15

My ds gets FSM and as a result was also entitled to a free place in the summer scheme connected to the school. They get a snack of juice and either a biscuit or toast. Ok so it's not a hot meal but the scheme runs for 3 weeks and it's better than not having a scheme and a snack. I think this is te first year they have been able to offer free places for FSM eligible dcs. Just wanted to post to say that there are places already offering free places for FSM dcs.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Fri 19-Jul-13 22:21:23

Saucy, you really are showing your true colours. How balanced, rational and generous of spirit you appear.... Thank goodness there are far better people than you out there.

Bogeyface Fri 19-Jul-13 22:23:51

Walk Bogeyface......?

Would that be with or without the hungry children in tow? Asda is 3 miles from my house, a 6 mile round trip on foot with no guarantee of getting anything worth eating at the end of it? I can see why people dont bother!

This thread is just another example of "not on my taxes" when any one of you could be on your arses. I was this smug until last november when with no notice, no owed wages and no severance pay, my husband was made redundant. He got to work and then got told he had to contact his staff, tell them, and then go home.

There but for the grace of God go you all.

IneedAyoniNickname Fri 19-Jul-13 22:23:57

Well I could walk to Asda to get these amazing bargains (which don't always exist). I mean it would only take 2-3 hours each way!

noisytoys Fri 19-Jul-13 22:25:22

It breaks my heart that little children will go without food this summer. Little children that are friends of my DCs. Little children that I know personally but aren't in a position to help sad

SaucyJack Fri 19-Jul-13 22:25:46

WTF property

Am I writing in Mandarin?

Madlizzy Fri 19-Jul-13 22:26:28

I was a single parent on income support and managed fine. HOWEVER, the cost of living has far exceeded any rise in benefits, and I very much doubt I would manage anywhere near as well now. food is bloody expensive, fuel more so.

Bogeyface Fri 19-Jul-13 22:26:40

I should also add that poor childhood nutrition is a major indicator of poor health in later life. I assume that all of you "let them eat cake"ers are happy for your children to pay higher taxes to support an NHS (lets pray it still exists) to treat their underfed peers for chronic conditions that you stood back and let happen.

SaucyJack Fri 19-Jul-13 22:27:01

Plenty of people do live within walking distance of a 'big four' supermarket. We have three round here for starters.

Bogeyface Fri 19-Jul-13 22:27:11

No Saucy you are just being offensive. And I will happily stand up as the person who reported your vile post.

Bogeyface Fri 19-Jul-13 22:27:52

Yes SJ and plenty dont, far more than do in fact. But hey, dont let the facts stand in the way of being a bigot.

EeTraceyluv Fri 19-Jul-13 22:28:37

madlizzy the rise in the cost of living has also fucked up a hell of a lot of people who work.

tethersend Fri 19-Jul-13 22:28:38

Saucy, your comment to property was below the belt.

Perhaps you should write in Mandarin if would mean that you could engage in the debate without recourse to personal insults.

SaucyJack Fri 19-Jul-13 22:30:17

How exactly am I a bigot? As I've already mentioned, I was on benefits for five whole years. In precisely what shape or form does me talking about my own experiences make me prejudiced or intolerant?

GoodTouchBadTouch Fri 19-Jul-13 22:30:25

"Some of you need to stop with all the middle class hand wringing"

This^ You love it. Makes you feel all benevolent-lady-of-the-manor.

SaucyJack Fri 19-Jul-13 22:31:47

But it was fine for her to call me fucking stupid and a deluded twat. Right then.

My kids are on FSM (I am working and so is my eldest teen but that's for herself of course. But we can't manage it) and there's a canteen thing at school, it's like one of one holiday camps, but only lunch and three times a week, breakfast, for FSM kids, funded by a charity. Last year it was great.

roseel Fri 19-Jul-13 22:33:03

My mother just didn't feed us lunch at all in the summer holidays. We'd suffered bankruptcy, lost property and income, and were temporarily reduced to benefits and FSM too. We received occasional food parcels from relations and I can remember always feeling hungry.

I think it's not just the cost, many families will feel the pressure of having to provide all meals for children for 6 weeks without any support. My DCs always have school dinners and I find that a significant help in providing well for them & giving them a good diet overall.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Fri 19-Jul-13 22:33:49

Saucy, I am not sure why you don't want to accept that some children will not eat adequately this summer. I am not sure why you think that a little child having one filling meal a day is some sort of nice perk. Adequate nutrition is pretty essential and a basic human right to my mind.

AudrinaAdare Fri 19-Jul-13 22:34:21

DH and I are both carers as of three months ago. He worked up until DC1's needs changed and her condition became severe. It is going to cost more in the summer, yes. Not as much as it would in the winter when the children tend to eat more and hang around at home.

We haven't had much time to plan, but it just is, like Christmas. You know when it's coming up, it's the same time every year. More manageable if you aren't paying for heating for just six weeks.

celestialbows Fri 19-Jul-13 22:35:31

SaucyJack I just wanted to say I love your nickname, if I'd thought of it I'd have used it myself. One of my favourite songs despite the macabre subject matter, it always gives me a fit of the giggles

HappyDoll Fri 19-Jul-13 22:36:17

I think it's not just the cost, many families will feel the pressure of having to provide all meals for children for 6 weeks without any support.

What??? Don't you think about that when you decide to have a baby? I thought it was a given that I was going to have to ensure this person was fed 3 times a day until a certain age?

AudrinaAdare Fri 19-Jul-13 22:38:51

Posted too soon -

Or, if you are our old neighbours you can have bbq's three times a week and new tattoos, clothes and hairstyles all summer and have the entire street stink of weed while whinging that your children don't get a free lunch and it's so hard to manage.

Not that that is the fault of the children sad but when everything which isn't nailed down is stolen and your child is mugged outside the front door for ice-cream money it's hard to sympathise with the so-called adults.

Chickensarmpit Fri 19-Jul-13 22:41:56

I'll be getting the supermarkets to deliver my food. You get money off your shopping on the first go. That'll help lots.

GoodTouchBadTouch Fri 19-Jul-13 22:42:17

"I think it's not just the cost, many families will feel the pressure of having to provide all meals for children for 6 weeks without any support"

What??? Support with setting the table? Or heating up the ravioli?

You people get so excited about feeding the poor, with your food parcels and meal tents... you actually want to spoon feed them personally now?

JakeBullet Fri 19-Jul-13 22:44:10

It's a difficult one.

My son gets FSM, or at least he is entitled to them. I claim for them simply because I kbow the school geys a premium for children on FSM.

However, DS is autistic and so refuses said FSM and takes a packef lunch. I will notice no difference in foid costs at all.

Bogeyface Fri 19-Jul-13 22:45:34

Saucy, I am not sure why you don't want to accept that some children will not eat adequately this summer. I am not sure why you think that a little child having one filling meal a day is some sort of nice perk. Adequate nutrition is pretty essential and a basic human right to my mind.


And to those saying "oh they just cant budget" or "oh they spend all their money on tatoos and weed" SO WHAT?!

Should a child in the 6th richest country in the world go hungry? That is the question here. Whether or not you agree with what their parents spend their money on, can you honestly say that you are happy to send money to Comic Relief to feed starving African children, or street children in South America, but will stand by and watch as a child in YOUR town, maybe even on YOUR street, goes hungry? For the sake £1? Really?

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Fri 19-Jul-13 22:45:58

FSM are not about adults though, they are entirely about directly assisting children. Yes the adult having three bbqs a week might well be a dick but plenty of benefit dependant parents can't or won't prioritise child welfare. fSM provide a safety net. A net that does catch children who would otherwise be in free fall.

freemanbatch Fri 19-Jul-13 22:46:27

I thought FSM were the one thing nobody could complain about. The parents financial circumstances are nothing to do with the child and they deserve to be fed simply because they are human beings.

I have always wondered how children who only had a slice of toast for tea were supposed to survive the holidays from school, it must be a terrible thing for the children to face.

Happy holidays I don't think!!

I've been on Mumsnet long enough to not be surprised by your response HappyDoll Thing is it's not just about my own experiences, but I can look at my own experience - of feeling slightly daunted by the forthcoming 6 week holiday - and see that others may find it even harder.

A bit like the thread I started last week about effort marks where I mentioned the ones my DS and DD have been given.
But someone always has to make it just about your personal experience don't they ? And I thought it was a discussion forum confused hmm
- various expressions to illustrate thoughts on this

Bogeyface Fri 19-Jul-13 22:46:31

Yes, for a minimum spend chickens, usually £40 so no good if your budget is £20 really is it?

kim147 Fri 19-Jul-13 22:49:19

"Yes the adult having three bbqs a week might well be a dick but plenty of benefit dependant parents can't or won't prioritise child welfare"

I really want to disagree with that statement as I would hope that any parent would put their child first - especially when it comes to feeding them.

But I do know children go hungry at home. And that should not be happening in this country.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Fri 19-Jul-13 22:49:41

Goodtouch, there are parents out there who will struggle this summer due to mental illness. They will try and they will do their absolute best. For some planning and shopping for a nutritionally balanced diet for their child for seven days a week will be like a walk up Everest. There are lots of reasons why FSM make lives easier for those in need.

HappyDoll Fri 19-Jul-13 22:53:40

"And to those saying "oh they just cant budget" or "oh they spend all their money on tatoos (sic) and weed" SO WHAT?!"
"FSM are not about adults though, they are entirely about directly assisting children. Yes the adult having three bbqs a week might well be a dick but plenty of benefit dependant parents can't or won't prioritise child welfare."

It's a big WHAT IMO. Those parents should face charges of neglect. This is why I believe (in answer to your earlier question of my actual opinion) benefits should be paid in food and accommodation vouchers.

Bogeyface Fri 19-Jul-13 22:53:58

I think that many people are missing the point.

A child going hungry shouldnt happen. But it does. The child has no control over that and shouldnt suffer for it. We, as a nation and a community, should make sure that no child ever goes hungry and if that means FSM continue during the holidays then I would happily pay for that.

Thanks property - I just wanted to raise that the issues go beyond simply cost and poverty (though those aspects very important) and can involve aspects of how well parents are coping as well.

Chickensarmpit Fri 19-Jul-13 22:56:01

I was talking about what I'll be doing Bogey. My claim for tax credits is still sorting itself out so I have nothing. Luckily I grow my own veg, we'dof been screwed if I hadn't.

HappyDoll Fri 19-Jul-13 22:56:01

juggling I have no idea what point you are trying to make? Are you saying I am talking about personal experience because that's actually the one thing I have refused to do?

Bogeyface Fri 19-Jul-13 22:59:48

I agree Happy that any parent who puts themselves before the welfare of their child should face neglect charges. But where do you draw the line?

Does a single mum who can care for her children very well, keeps a clean home etc but is educationally far below average and therefore cant budget very well, count as neglectful? Does a father who has severe depression and simply cant deal with shopping trips count as neglectful?

It is not that simple and the fact that you think it is shows that you have no genuine understanding of what it is like to look at the amount of food in the cupboard, the amount of electric left on your key meter and the money in your purse and see that there simply isnt enough for both. If you had ever had to do that, through no fault of your own then perhaps you would be a little more empathetic.

WilsonFrickett Fri 19-Jul-13 22:59:55

Many children go hungry at home and as someone said earlier, fsm are a real safety net, where food goes directly in to children's mouths. The people who have said they budget and take account of this, they're not the children I'm worrying about.

I know of a child who was entitled to fsm but the parent couldn't get off her arse to sign the form. The school couldn't 'claim' the meal without the sig, so the teachers took it in turns to feed the kid. That child is absolutely, 100%, hungry tonight. In Britain. In 2013.

Bogeyface Fri 19-Jul-13 23:01:23

I should add that saying "WEll I always managed on benefits" doesnt mean a thing. It doesnt mean that others, for whatever reason, can't. It doesnt suddenly fill a hungry childs belly.

It felt like you were making it about personal experience when you said ...
"Don't you think about that when you have a baby ?"
And actually, on that, I think there are plenty of people who don't think about providing 3 meals for 18 years or so when they think having a baby might be a nice idea. I'd think those that do may possibly be in a minority.
Very easy to go into motherhood without realising all of it's implications and consequences. And providing for your children may become harder than you envisaged through changes in circumstances too.

AudrinaAdare Fri 19-Jul-13 23:02:02

Not just dicks but addicts. I taught children who returned after the summer having visibly lost weight. I let those children tidy my desk drawer every day during term time and keep what money I could spare that they "found". I'm far from fucking heartless thanks, I'm just saying that not every family on FSM is unable to plan for summer and prioritise their children during the least expensive months of the year. Those of us on this thread who can and do have every right to state this.

ImNotBloody14 Fri 19-Jul-13 23:03:15

Oh here we go- get the voucher book out- and while you're there can i have one voucher for electric, one for oil, one for clothes ( unless you want my dcs wearing school uniform all summer?) do these vouchers have participating retailers printed on the back? Will the car boot sale take them and give me some change back if i be a very good benefit scrounger and dont spend all if it's value? Do i have to hand the change back in at the dole office?

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Fri 19-Jul-13 23:03:40

I agree that FSM entitlement is most likely the least objectionable benefit out there. Children from low income backgrounds being fed. I can't get even remotely upset about young children having full tummies.
For all the rhetoric espoused by naysayers on this thread I do not for one second believe that any single one of them would feel comfortable about a child they knew going hungry. The hard part for most seems to be believing that child poverty and huger exists in the UK right now.

Bogeyface Fri 19-Jul-13 23:05:06

I am just appalled that anyone could be told that there are hungry children, as Wilson said "tonight. In Britain. In 2013" and say "not my problem, their parents need to manage better" and then turn their backs.

Regardless of what you think of their parents, I am astounded that you can happily ignore a hungry child. How do you sleep at nights?

ImNotBloody14 Fri 19-Jul-13 23:07:53

An all these parents you are charging with neglect- then what? You out them in prison? Remove their dcs to all those available foster care places?

freemanbatch Fri 19-Jul-13 23:10:17

You can get weekly healthy start vouchers for kids up to 4 for fruit and veg, they aren't of much value but it is something and surely they could be provided for children on FSM for the holidays to try and ensure they're getting something.

hungry children is not a mark of a civilised society.

EeTraceyluv Fri 19-Jul-13 23:14:41

Nor is working and not being able to manage

HappyDoll Fri 19-Jul-13 23:15:29

Bogey As you have pointed out, neither of us have an idea of what anyone on here has a genuine understanding of. You may feel my opinion hints at what my lifestyle is like but that is very judgmental. I arrive at my opinion like you, through many different experiences and exposures.
The examples you have given are tragic and I am extremely empathetic but your logic is incorrect. The hypothetical single mum should be given budgeting help, not more free food. The hypothetical depressed father should be given free therapy, not free food. Both of these options are available in our state and I utterly support them. If in the meantime they are really unable to provide for their children, should they really be able to be their primary carer? Before the screechers start claiming that I am advocating ripping children from their parents' arms, I am NOT. I am simply saying that in those hypothetical situations, they should receive proactive support, the childrens' welfare must come first and the aim should be a functioning family able to feed their own.

tethersend Fri 19-Jul-13 23:17:46

"It's a big WHAT IMO. Those parents should face charges of neglect"

Then they would also have their children removed and cared for by the state, using taxpayers' money. A lot more taxpayers' money than a free meal every day of the year.

Or is it sometimes ok for the children's welfare to become the responsibility of the state?

AudrinaAdare Fri 19-Jul-13 23:19:33

This is really strange for me because I am always clearly on the side of the underdog on these threads. I am lucky hmm to have two disabled children and to be able to claim benefits. I do worry about children not being fed (and actually no, I didn't spell "tattoo" wrong whoever quoted me with a sic) but I think that throwing money in the wrong direction is a bad idea.

There are plenty of people on this thread who can manage. It is covered by just six weeks of not paying for heating. My sister and her friends even stop paying ALL utilities in order to fund (a ridiculously expensive) Christmas and catch up later in the New Year with no problems.

If you want to invest in the future LONG term, get vulnerable families some actualhelp. I realised this when my (dodgy, job-threatening) plan of leaving money for the children of the addict mother just prolonged things.

In case you are interested they are all extremely happy and productive working citizens now.

HappyDoll Fri 19-Jul-13 23:20:24

It's not about the money though is's about EVERYONE providing for the young and the needy...and that starts with those that should provide...their parents.

tethersend Fri 19-Jul-13 23:20:28

HappyDoll, it is far cheaper for the taxpayer to leave the children with their depressed father or poor-budgeting mother and feed them than it is to remove them into care.

ImNotBloody14 Fri 19-Jul-13 23:22:20

And how do the children eat whilst therapy is getting off the ground happy? Why not free meals and therapy to enable him to get to the stage where he can cope without the worry at the same time about how thin and letharhic his dcs are becoming? Why is free therapy a better alternative to free food for children? Therapy no doubt is more expensive than food.

quip Fri 19-Jul-13 23:23:00

It strikes me as odd that no one on this thread has mentioned the huge correlation between poverty and obesity. Many really poor families are not going hungry but are making unhealthy choices for their children. It'snot kids going hungry that worries me but kids going without fruit and veg and ending the summer holidays fatter and less healthy than before. fsm don't just feed kids, they nourish them and the lack of fsm over the summer will be reflected in an unhealthy lot of kids coming back to school in September

AudrinaAdare Fri 19-Jul-13 23:31:21

All of the five children across the road where I used to live were podgy and pasty looking. The child closest to DD's age once told her that the entire family took the piss out of her her wanting to eat something other than reconstituted meat and chips every night in order to lose a bit of weight.

That poor kid didn't have a chance. I'm not, as someone suggested, saying that such children are swept away into care, but surely some sort of intervention could be funded?

Bogeyface Fri 19-Jul-13 23:34:26

Happy Yes the parents need support, but why on earth do you think that in the meantime the children should suffer? As a PP said, should they go into care? There are not enough foster parents as it is and it is widely accepted that life in care is horrific. As another PP pointed out, care costs far more than the few quid a day that it would cost for a decent meal for those children.

And suggesting that someone with real learning issues can be taught to budget is laughable. My son has Cerebal Palsy. It affects his mental processes far more than his physical abilities. He cannot process numbers, at all. That part of his brain was damaged during his birth, there is no teaching in the world that will change that. Should he not be a parent? Should he he never consider having children because of that? He is fantastic with children, when I was very ill in my last pg he did the majority of day to day stuff that I couldnt do and my husband couldnt take time off work to do. He can cook, clean, do washing, is a marvel when one of the kids is ill and I need an extra hand, but can he shop? physically yes, but he pays far more than he should. Can he budget? Not at all. If you gave him £100 and asked him to make a shopping list it could come to £300 or £5 because his brain simply doesnt work properly in that department.

He has me, his friends, his siblings, we support him. But what if he was a single parent who didnt have us? That is reality for some people, they do the best they can, but if their best aint that great why on earth should their children suffer for that?

Bogeyface Fri 19-Jul-13 23:36:36

Quip You do have a point but the point of this thread is that there will be many children going back to school thinner, that doesnt worry you? At all?

SuperiorCat Fri 19-Jul-13 23:42:10

What an utterly depressing thread, people begrudging hungry children one free meal a day.

Much as some MNers deny it, I know from having worked with families in very deprived areas, that there are parents who prioritise spending money on alcohol / drugs / designer clothes / acrylic nails etc for whatever reason, while their DCs don't have a winter coat / proper breakfast, but these are very much in the minority. None of this is the child's decision, or fault, and they should not be going hungry as a result.

FSM are a very effective way of ensuring that the money is spent on feeding the child, the parents have no control over it and cannot divert funds elsewhere.

AudrinaAdare Fri 19-Jul-13 23:44:03

If the family I knew had been given extra money over the summer the mother and bf of the week would have bought even more drugs and been even more life-threateningly neglectful to the children. And you can still buy booze and dags with government vouchers where I live so I don't see how that would help. My own sister bought sodding bottled water for her dog to drink but says any fruit for the DC is too expensive!

AudrinaAdare Fri 19-Jul-13 23:46:22

Superior you may have worked with neglectful families but I have worked with AND lived amongst them for forty years. They are not very much in the minority in my town.

OhThePlacesYoullGo Fri 19-Jul-13 23:51:48

Ok; I am not against the idea of providing some kind of free meal scheme during the summer for FSM children - whether the need is due to lack of budgeting skills, genuine need, illness or whatnot.

Nonetheless, someone earlier in the thread mentioned buying cheaply at the end of the day at ASDA and was 'shouted down'. If you can't get to ASDA, that still leaves you with pretty much every other supermarket. I have been doing this for years now (taking the bus there), buying whatever is marked down, whether that is £0.25 for a bunch of bananas or bread for £0.15, chicken breasts for £0.50.

There are other cheap options. Since uni, I buy one (now two) of those bowls of fruit & veg from one of the street vendors for a pound each week (they are usually one kind of vegetable or fruit, but they have always let me swap stuff around and make a mix if I asked).

I also buy big bags of rice/pasta from the 99p store.

My point is that while of course there are plenty of reasons why families may struggle and their kids should not suffer as a result, this does not mean that the suggestion that it is possible to live of even a tiny food budget and eat well should be ridiculed as being uninformed and unrealistic.

Bogeyface Fri 19-Jul-13 23:54:41

Audrina it has been said that FSM isnt about money, it was the best way to put food directly into a hungry childs belly. Many people have said that rather than cash or vouchers, which as you rightly say can be misappropriated, some sort of Free Holiday Meals scheme could be started.

Bogeyface Fri 19-Jul-13 23:59:59

I started this thread because while I abhor the fact that some people have less than £15 a week to feed themselves and their child, I felt that basic cooking skills might help. I have lived on the absolute breadline, deciding between heat, light or food, so I thought I was well placed to comment. I was wrong. I still believe that cooking skills would help, however I was educated on that thread to think about the fact that not everyone has transport (public or otherwise), not everyone lives within schlepping distance of a supermarket. I suggest you nay sayers read it, its very enlightening.

Bogeyface Sat 20-Jul-13 00:00:07
TabithaStephens Sat 20-Jul-13 00:02:20

Sorry but it is a parents responsibilty to feed their children. The more services the state provides, the more irresponsible behaviour from parents. If parents aren't feeding their kids, the fault is there's not the governments.

AudrinaAdare Sat 20-Jul-13 00:05:22

I'd support that because in the short-term, the children need to be fed. Same as me with my desk-drawer. I just had my back up because of the assumptions that all people on benefits don't know that summer is coming and plan accordingly.

Mind you, I've been here six years and plenty of people seem to have Christmas steal up on them so unsuspectingly that it's late December before they realise that some small presents and a special meal needs to be planned for, so I shouldn't be surprised.

Bogeyface Sat 20-Jul-13 00:08:00

Sorry but it is a parents responsibilty to feed their children. The more services the state provides, the more irresponsible behaviour from parents. If parents aren't feeding their kids, the fault is there's not the governments.

So you would see a 6 year old little boy go days without a meal and walk away?

kim147 Sat 20-Jul-13 00:08:36

tabitha It is a parent's responsibility to feed their children.
Some parents can't do that - for a whole range of reasons.

So who should take responsibility then?

chocolatespiders Sat 20-Jul-13 00:08:59

I do think this should be looked into. For lots of children on free school meals it could be the one and only meal they get everyday and to have that missing over the summer, Easter, Christmas etc is upsetting.

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 00:09:04

How very enlightened of you tabitha- where did you gain your wealth of experience relating to why some children aren't fed properly?

Bogeyface Sat 20-Jul-13 00:12:58

Imnot on the politics board where she, oddly enough, is all in favour of the Tory flavour lollipops.

PresidentServalan Sat 20-Jul-13 00:13:21

Surely if you can't afford to feed your children then that is a bigger issue? Presumably the adults eat at some point? What about 9p tins of beans etc, is that really outside of people's budgets?

annie987 Sat 20-Jul-13 00:13:49

6 out of the 7 children in my class who receive FSM have parents who smoke.
I know this does not apply to all FSM parents but it is true of the section tgst i see and I find it very hard to feel sorry that these parents cannot feed their children if they can afford to buy cigarettes.

annie987 Sat 20-Jul-13 00:14:59

And 3 of the 7 children also had IPads for Christmas!

PresidentServalan Sat 20-Jul-13 00:15:38

Tabitha I agree, it is not down to the Govt to feed children, it is up to the parents. Your children, your responsibility.

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 00:17:57

Annie no-one says you should feel sorry for the parents, it's the children we'ee talking about here! Children who have no say at all in whether they get dinner or not

kim147 Sat 20-Jul-13 00:20:07

What happens if the children do not get fed?

What role does society have then?

annie987 Sat 20-Jul-13 00:20:45

So if I chose to spend all my wages on fast cars and drugs and not feed my child then the schools should open to do it for me?

Bogeyface Sat 20-Jul-13 00:21:27

president and what if they dont?

PresidentServalan Sat 20-Jul-13 00:22:32

The families I know that have FSM have enough to feed and clothe themselves and their children. I know there will be exceptions but I really don't believe that all these children will go hungry.

TabithaStephens Sat 20-Jul-13 00:23:35

If parents aren't feeding their kids than social services need to get involved.

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 00:23:37

Nobody said all of them president

Bogeyface Sat 20-Jul-13 00:24:55

Why are you focussing on the parents?

I think that we all agree that a parent who buys 20 fags at £7 and then doesnt feed their child because "they cant afford it" is a shit parent. But FSM isnt about that. It it about making sure that a child, who has no control over the money in their household, has one decent meal a day.

Are you really saying that because a child has shit parents it should go hungry?

PresidentServalan Sat 20-Jul-13 00:25:15

Then the children will go hungry. As pp have said there are cheap deals in supermarkets, particularly in the early evening, are the parents going without as well?? I'm guessing not.

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 00:26:05

And how will social services (even if they had the manpower to do it) know which families couldnt feed their dcs in order to get involved? They dont wear special badges to let people know they're struggling!

PresidentServalan Sat 20-Jul-13 00:26:51

Not feeding your children is neglect surely? As Tabitha said, wouldn't that be a SS issue?

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 00:27:34

Ive gone without to feed my dcs. More than likely will have to again at some point. It's normal now for me.

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 00:28:23

Yes president and how will SS know to get involved?

PresidentServalan Sat 20-Jul-13 00:28:43

I think we are focusing on the parents because its their responsibility to feed their children!

Bogeyface Sat 20-Jul-13 00:29:09

Tabitha Do you know how much it costs for a child to be taken into care? In court costs alone it is far more per year than it is to provide that child with a decent meal.

And you are ignoring the fact that some parents dont have enough money. As I posted above, because we were paying a mortgage when my husband lost his job, we got no housing benefit. We were in negative equity so could not afford to sell our house so we had to meet our mortgage repayments out of our benefits. That meant that we had less money from our JSA and CTC to meet our bills and food budget. FSM were not the difference between our children eating or not, but dammit, it helped.

Bogeyface Sat 20-Jul-13 00:31:19

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annie987 Sat 20-Jul-13 00:31:31

I'm not saying a child with shit parents should go hungry but shit parents should take responsibility for their own children. Having kids is not something that should be entered into lightly and as these shit parents know they will always be bailed out by the state then they have no reason to be anything but shit!

PresidentServalan Sat 20-Jul-13 00:31:49

They won't necessarily but the same can be said of any situation which requires SS involvement. How do they know that they need to step in with most cases?

cheerfulweather Sat 20-Jul-13 00:33:17

I'm glad some people will be helping at food banks and providing meals over the summer. Rather than the shrugging and 'it's the fault of the parents" mentality. That doesn't help those children who will need it.

I'm going to donate to my local foodbank, and having looked, the school holidays are stated as being one of their busiest times.

IneedAyoniNickname Sat 20-Jul-13 00:34:12

I said on page 1 that I will most probably have to go without to feed my dc this summer.
But that's ok with me, I will always put them 1st.
When I worked out what my budget would ne for the year it was based on their dad paying maintenance, and even with that I could only save minimal amounts (all of which has since been used on shoes, clothes etc)
I didn't expect that he would stop paying it as he is now responsible for another man's children after he chose to move on with a woman he's just met. Apparently he can't afford to support all the dc, plus they are expecting a baby soon.
CSA have made a nil assessment based on what he told them. I'm fighting that.

PresidentServalan Sat 20-Jul-13 00:35:08

Most parents are able to feed their children despite being financially on their arses. In fact most parents I know would feed their children regardless of what else needs paying.

Bogeyface Sat 20-Jul-13 00:36:05

Annie so given that the children shouldnt suffer, and the parents wont take responsibilty, what is your solution?

annie987 Sat 20-Jul-13 00:37:14

Neuter them

annie987 Sat 20-Jul-13 00:37:41

The parents not the children!!

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 00:39:14

Neuter them- and that will feed the kids? confused

Bogeyface Sat 20-Jul-13 00:39:51

President and what would you have happen to the children of parents who cant or wont feed their children? Please bear in mind that a) there are not enough social workers or foster families as it is and b) it will cost far more to have those children in care than to provide them with a meal during the 13 weeks of school holidays.

annie987 Sat 20-Jul-13 00:39:54

Food vouchers instead of cash benefits

Bogeyface Sat 20-Jul-13 00:41:16


Seriously? They are animals that should be neutered?! And then what? Feed their kids on their removed reproductive organs?!

WOW. that is something else!

PresidentServalan Sat 20-Jul-13 00:42:00

All those people helping at food banks, fair play to you - you are helping to prevent the situation but my point is that it is not the Govt's problem - they provide fsm for the majority of the time.

kim147 Sat 20-Jul-13 00:42:44

Shit parents should take responsibility

But they don't. That's why we have child protection, Social Services, foster care etc because there are shit parents out there who do not put their child first.

I would hate to see a child go hungry. I hate to hear some of the stuff children go through everyday and yet their parents are still allowed to look after them.

In today's society, someone needs to take responsibility to ensure a child is fed, sheltered and loved. These are basic needs that every child needs and far too many children do not get them.

annie987 Sat 20-Jul-13 00:42:44

If they can afford to feed their kids but choose not to and buy fags instead then yes they are animals.

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 00:42:52

Food vouchers can be sold

AudrinaAdare Sat 20-Jul-13 00:42:52

Oh, that is shit. "Stop benefits of irresponsible absent fathers", said nobody ever hmm

My XH has recently started his first job in thirteen years and the poor nice hard-working CSA bloke was so positive, sent out a payment schedule and everything. XH agreed but was in financial difficulty even while living with Mummy so it had to be renegotiated. I smiled and nodded at the promises and lo and behold, within a fortnight XH has "lost" his job and Mummy is giving him pocket money again. Sanctions? Pah! Mummy won't let him starve.

AudrinaAdare Sat 20-Jul-13 00:44:01

That was to IneedAyoniNickname. Good luck, lovely smile

PresidentServalan Sat 20-Jul-13 00:44:03

Yes to food vouchers - and I dont believe there are many people with no money at all coming in so surely feeding the family would be top of the list?

annie987 Sat 20-Jul-13 00:44:23

Not if issued properly and exchanged in conjunction with photo ID.

kim147 Sat 20-Jul-13 00:47:15

I think the welfare of its poorest citizens is a Government's problem. It's great people provide food banks - all part of the big society - but they can't be relied on.

I am so glad we have the welfare system in this country. Compared to other countries, including the USA, we do look after our poorest and most vulnerable.

We could do a hell of a lot better and there is still massive inequality in this country. But I do think we all have a responsibility, including the State, to look after our most vulnerable people.

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 00:47:46

Feeding kids top of the list, but the utility companies knly let you go so long without paying, you need electric to cook with, to keep the fridge cool and food fresh, to heat the water to wash the dishes. You need the roof over your heads to put the table under to eat at. The other bills might wait a month but when you are down to the bone month after month sometime you just dont have the cash for food.

Bogeyface Sat 20-Jul-13 00:48:35

Annie Food vouchers are already being misappropriated. Many corner shops will accept Healthy Start vouchers for fags and booze. FSM make sure that the food gets straight to a child tummy. We are saying that by extending that into the school holidays would prevent vouchers being misused.

I would agree that a parent who would buy fags over food for a hungry child is a shit parent, but what you say about sterilisation is eugenics.

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 00:49:01

So benefit recipients now have to show ID to buy food? sad

PresidentServalan Sat 20-Jul-13 00:49:49

And of course it should be up to both parents in most circumstances - both should be responsible. As to the lack of foster carers etc that ia an issue which needs to be addressed, along with the fact that adoption is ridiculously hard in this country.

annie987 Sat 20-Jul-13 00:50:38

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ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 00:51:29


kim147 Sat 20-Jul-13 00:51:31

I'm surprised the Government hasn't thought about reintroducing the workhouse.

It would solve a lot of problems - all the basics provided, provide employment through some sort of manual labour scheme and I bet it would be more efficient than the current welfare system.

Or would that be a step too far for them?

PresidentServalan Sat 20-Jul-13 00:51:36

What's wrong with ID? I have to show ID every time I go into the bank and in plenty of other circumstances.

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 00:52:13

Think i'm going to have to leave this thread now.

PresidentServalan Sat 20-Jul-13 00:53:41

So what is the alternative? For everyone to pay more into the system so parents can absolve themselves of responsibility? Sorry but screw that.

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 00:53:47

Were talking about buying food here president! And of course it would only be us scroungers that would have to prove we were entitled to the food!


IneedAyoniNickname Sat 20-Jul-13 00:54:09

Thanks Audrina good luck to you too!

PresidentServalan Sat 20-Jul-13 00:56:10

I just mean that showing ID is something that people doingn daily life - I really dont see the big deal. And I have not called ANYONE a scrounger....

Bogeyface Sat 20-Jul-13 00:57:00 recap

Both parents should be responsible
A parent should budget properly
There should be more foster carers
Adoption should be easier
Parents should buy food not fags
Parents who struggle should have their children removed from their care
Food vouchers should be given instead of cash
A hungry childs parents should be neutered sterilised.

And if none of the above is happening, then what? Will you still turn your back? Will you still walk away?

AudrinaAdare Sat 20-Jul-13 00:57:00

I don't think that workhouses are an impractical solution by any means. Give it a couple of years and every town will have a large, empty building just waiting to be put to good use. They will just need to remove the, "NHS" signs.

<scaring myself>

Bogeyface Sat 20-Jul-13 00:58:21

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ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 00:58:53

Showing id for a financial transaction on a personal bank account or buying alcohol is applicable to everyone and is very different than having to prove yourself entitled to eat whilst advertising your status as a benefit claimant to everyone in the queue behind you and all the staff and anyone they decide to tell.

annie987 Sat 20-Jul-13 00:59:58

Bogeyface - you forgot the workhouse.

PresidentServalan Sat 20-Jul-13 00:59:58

Actually yes I will walk away - we all have our own issues in this life, some of ua dont have time or energy to be worrying about other people

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 01:00:48

That is very clear president- thankfulyy some of us do take the time yo worry about others

Bogeyface Sat 20-Jul-13 01:01:30

Annie, aren't you a reception teacher?

annie987 Sat 20-Jul-13 01:02:10

No Year 3 now.

Bogeyface Sat 20-Jul-13 01:03:32

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

PresidentServalan Sat 20-Jul-13 01:04:36

She is, thanks.

Bogeyface Sat 20-Jul-13 01:04:39

Ah annie so if a 7 yr old was in your class, clearly underfed, loved but underfed, you would do what?

Bogeyface Sat 20-Jul-13 01:05:10

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PresidentServalan Sat 20-Jul-13 01:06:42

I havent had a personal dig at anyone on here - do you really need to resort to that?

Bogeyface Sat 20-Jul-13 01:07:30

Errr....uhhmmm....yep smile

McNewPants2013 Sat 20-Jul-13 01:08:21

Sorry I left the thread, will read later but my dd is unwell. She is asleep ATM so I didn't want to start a thread and run.

annie987 Sat 20-Jul-13 01:09:10

I give them breakfast. Make sure they have a snack at playtime and one before they go home.
I haven't for minute said that children should not get FSM but that their own parents should look after their own children's needs before theirs.
I also said that this does not apply to all parents if FS m children just those that spend the money they do have on luxuries rather than necessities.
I see it every day and it makes my blood boil. Children who come to me hungry and unkempt while their parents talk on their iPhones smoking 40 a day.

PresidentServalan Sat 20-Jul-13 01:11:44

Okay well that shows the quality of the debate that people can't disagree with each other without it degenerating into that.

Bogeyface Sat 20-Jul-13 01:12:59

Annie no one is disagreeing that their parents should look after them properly. The question is, what if they dont? SHould the child go hungry as a punishment to parents who dont give a toss?

annie987 Sat 20-Jul-13 01:18:10

No of course not and I have no solution. I just know it makes me so angry and there must be a way, some way to force these parents to wake up to their responsibilities instead of doing it all for them. And again this is not aimed at all FSM parents just those that see it as a given that someone else will feed their children.

Bogeyface Sat 20-Jul-13 01:23:32

But there isnt another solution. The government, the Daily Fail, The Sun et al all try to make examples of feckless parents, but does it change anything? No. All it does it turn the tide of hatred against anyone on benefits.

timidviper Sat 20-Jul-13 01:39:40

annie I totally agree with you

Bogeyface While I do agree with you that children should not be penalised, what can be done to incentivise these feckless parents? Thowing money at providing for their children is not going to make them reaponsible for their actions so what would you suggest?

TabithaStephens Sat 20-Jul-13 01:43:14

If parents aren't feeding their kids, you read them the riot act and make sure their kids are fed for the moment. If they do it again, you give them a final warning and make sure their kids are fed for the moment. If they do it again, you take the kids from them.

Bogeyface Sat 20-Jul-13 02:10:25

timid No one is suggesting giving them more money, it has already been agreed that that could be misappropriated, but schemes that run along the same lines as FSM could work. Schemes where the food is put straight into the bellies of a hungry child via holiday kitchens. A feckless parent would positively embrace their child being off their hands for an hour and getting fed, a non feckless parent would just appreciate their child getting the meal.

Tabitha what you say is a good theory, but where are these children to go after they are removed from the parents? As has already been said, there are not enough foster carers and it costs far more to keep a child in "care" than it would to provide them with one good meal a day.

Bogeyface Sat 20-Jul-13 02:12:00

And a further Q tabitha how would you identify every child that isnt being fed properly?

Kungfutea Sat 20-Jul-13 03:40:28

It's not such a weird idea. I'm in the us and in new York city they have a summer feeding program run by the dept of education

It's open to everyone as well. I took my dds swimming and was most surprised to be offered a sandwich when we were done!

If they can do it in the us where they hate spending tax dollars, they can do it in the uk!

Secretswitch Sat 20-Jul-13 04:28:15

I am saddened by the hostility on this thread. I live in a very poor neighbourhood. I know there are hungry children living in my area. The neighbourhood school offers free breakfast and free lunch for all lower grades. It is a wonderful asset. I see many children taking advantage of this service. I don't know all their family circumstances. I don't know how their parents choose to spend their income. I honestly do not care. Venom directed towards anyone for their poverty status is abhorrent. I think it says much about the person writing these statements. It is evil and horribly wrong that any child suffers from hunger. Placing blame is not helpful and shows a decided lack of compassion.

Secretswitch Sat 20-Jul-13 04:31:06

I am in the US too. The free breakfast and lunch program is available year round here. Many children would struggle with hunger if they were to remove this service.

Chottie Sat 20-Jul-13 04:32:18

Actually, there is a precedent for this. In the 1950s and 1960s one of the local schools in SE London used to open every day during the summer holidays to provide school dinners for those children who had them during term time. It was really used as the children would not have had a meal otherwise. For the same reason these children were never absent from school.

It's heart breaking to think we're 50 odd years on and nothing has changed.....

Secretswitch Sat 20-Jul-13 05:00:39

Indeed Chottie..50 years in and we are still discussing children and hunger.

coldwater1 Sat 20-Jul-13 06:31:19

I work and pay 'my taxes' but i would happily pay a little more tax if it meant families did not have to go without food (and electric/gas).

For the people saying they used to be on benefits and were able to feed their children without the FSM... i guess that was before all the recent benefit cuts?

It makes me so sad and upset to know what this Government is doing to families that already don't have a pot to piss in, in fact it makes me bloody angry!

Ilovegeorgeclooney Sat 20-Jul-13 06:44:55

We broke up yesterday. I work in one of the poorest council wards in the country and not all the pupils looked delighted. I really worry about some of our FSM pupils who also attend our 'Breakfast Club'. The club is funded by the staff and we made sure each of the pupils went home with a stockpile of cereal etc but it won't last 6 weeks. For some of these pupils the holidays are just misery. There needs to be some provision for these pupils during the break. We run summer school and a lot of them signed up but it is only two weeks.

I agree that children who are going hungry need to be fed, regardless of the reason they are hungry, but other people can only do so much. For example, what happens to the child whose parents are still in bed at 12:00 so they can't get to the school for their lunch? Or the child whose parents just don't care enough to take them? What about the teenager who's too embarrassed to be seen going in to school for their free meal in the holidays? Should children get a free lunch at the weekend? Should staff take them one round when they're off sick? What about breakfast and tea? Should schools provide those too? ( actually many schools provide breakfast to the most needy, but it's at their own expense, or sometimes even the teacher's expense).

I'm not sure what the answer is tbh.

tethersend Sat 20-Jul-13 07:32:31

"Actually yes I will walk away - we all have our own issues in this life, some of ua dont have time or energy to be worrying about other people"

Blimey. That's not very Big Society, is it?

Shiny Dave will be disappointed.

Worriedmind Sat 20-Jul-13 08:17:19

Haven't read all thread but in one of schools I worked in they managed their own lunches rather than council bought. Children on fsm could pick up a pack lunch from the school office in the holidays.

Worriedmind Sat 20-Jul-13 08:33:27

Can I point out a food diary we did with year 2 in the school I used to work in. Little employment in area (ex mining town) high deprivation. area of high immigration. Massive percentage of fsm.

Only two in my class had breakfast in the week we did the diary for science, I would say 12 had a cup of tea/juice and biscuits. That was their tea/dinner.

For most their school meal was only meal.

We often caught children stealing food. At the Christmas party a boy sneaked afterwards to steal left overs. I bagged them up and gave them him. (sandwiches/cake/crisps)

One ladies husband died in the car with her step childrens mum on the way to parents evening together. She took on all her step children despite already having a big family.

It was bloody hard for them and I often worried in the holidays.

My biggest worry is electricity for us. We moved into a rental with prepayment. Its hard work in the holidays when dd has extra things on all day but at least we don't need the heating at moment.

Worriedmind Sat 20-Jul-13 08:40:32

Not all parents struggling to feed their kids are feckless.

I was helping local food bank and leader was telling me they are getting people who have left their working partners due to abuse or lost their jobs waiting weeks and weeks for benefit claims to be processed with no money inbetween at all.

NotYoMomma Sat 20-Jul-13 08:40:39

surely people can take this into account and budget for it? they do announce term dates a good deal in advance.

NotYoMomma Sat 20-Jul-13 08:51:17

shoulda read the thread eek blush

alistron1 Sat 20-Jul-13 09:04:43

In my experience the hungriest children I've seen are kids whose parents are working and have been squeezed by cuts/changes to tax credits and a rise in the cost of living. Families who are on the cusp of FSM entitlement.

I think we should give FSM to more families, and yes the impact of the 6 week break is an issue.

It's a disgrace that in 2013 children are going hungry and are malnourished. Some of the posters on this thread would be out of place working in a Victorian poorhouse.

alistron1 Sat 20-Jul-13 09:05:19

Wouldn't be out of place, obvs ;)

Worriedmind Sat 20-Jul-13 09:12:39

I have just read the thread.

Cameron would be so proud, his alienation of a sector of society is clearly working because everyone knows the poor are poor because they are feckless and lazy and should be steralised (wtf?)

Pobblewhohasnotoes Sat 20-Jul-13 10:02:31

I was on FSM as a child. My dad was ill and then died, my mum had no money. She used to make sure we were well fed but didn't eat herself (100 ways to cook mince she calls it).

Some people on this thread have no fucking clue. 'Budget properly', 'FSM are a bonus'. What a joke.

ophelia275 Sat 20-Jul-13 10:07:35

Have a look at this blog by a single mum on benefits who manages to make nutritious, varied meals on a very tight budget. She has even managed to get a book deal because of her very low cost recipes;

missmarplestmarymead Sat 20-Jul-13 10:09:10

I think there should be a scheme to provide meals for children in the holidays. Children should not have to be hungry or, as others have said be 'punished' for lack of money.

However, if parents are wilfully neglecting children then those parents should be punished-maybe by not being given ready cash but rather food and clothing vouchers for a period and supervision, a little along the lines of probation.

if those vouchers are then found to have been sold, then they have proved that they are not fit to have care of children and yes, the children should be taken away. The shop keeper who is taking the vouchers for things that they are not intended for should be prosecuted and, ideally, be given a custodial sentence.

In the case of parents who are neglectful because they know no better, then they should be treated gently but the bottom line is the child's welfare and if they cannot look after that child, then action need s to be taken.

A child who is hungry all the time is the bottom line and I would be surprised if the child's stomach could distinguish that it is hungry because their parent is inadequate, has sen or is cheating their child by spending money on non-essentials.

There may not be enough resources to deal with it at the moment but there would be no harm in establishing the principle.

However, yes, I think that until this issue is addressed, there should be some form of fsm in the holidays.

alemci Sat 20-Jul-13 10:20:13

no, but the parents could use a food bank.

LEMisdisappointed Sat 20-Jul-13 10:32:59

almeci - oh thats ok then becuase food banks are an endless resource of food! hmm

I think it is all very well banging on about people being able to budget and do brilliant things with a packet of lentils. That woman "agirlcalledjack" does amazingly well but she is going to be very much in a minority. Well maybe not, maybe a fair amount of single parents, parents with financial difficulties will have the nouse to budget and produce low cost, nutritious food for their families. The sad truth is that many people are, without being nasty, just not that bright and would actually struggle with anything past putting some chicken nuggets in the oven. This is not their fault, they may have learning difficulties, be uneduated due to a difficult upbringing themselves. Some people may well be feckless and spend more money on booze and drugs - but you don't have a choice over what family you are born into. Very soon there will be a baby born into wealth beyond our imagination, this child will receive the best of everything and have every door held wide open for them, simply because of who they were given birth to by. There are children who are born into poverty every day and actually it doesn't matter if their parents are trying their best but can't make ends meet or their parents are feckless and unable to manage - the outcome is the same, the cycle of poverty will continue.

I personally don't know how Cameron sleeps at night, knowing that in of of the richest countries in the world, there are children who are not receiving adequate food.

Worriedmind Sat 20-Jul-13 10:56:25

I wouldn't have a clue how to access a food bank.
I presume you have to access it via a professional.

I can see many people thinking that and being scared to access it via a professional thinking social services will become involved.

SaucyJack Sat 20-Jul-13 10:58:20

I'm not sure you can blame Cameron for it LEM. People on benefits do receive enough for the basics* and my personal opinion is that those who can't or won't feed their children need to be dealt with in the same manner as any other neglectful child abuser.

*When I was on IS (which was up until very recently) we received £200 approx per week plus full rent and council tax for one adult and two children. Essential utilities (gas/water/electric) averaged £30 a week over the year. This left £170 a week for phone bills, food and clothing. These are not starvation levels and if parents are unable to feed their children on this kind of money then there are clearly other issues that need tackling.

alemci Sat 20-Jul-13 11:06:06

i'm not sure about having to be recommended by a professional. My friend manages a food bank and they get a mixture of people.

I still think some of the problems can be apportioned to stupid selfish parents who maybe shouldn't have had children and bad financial planning but I know that is not the dc's fault.

as someone said upthread some councils offer vouchers over the holidays which is reasonable.

delboysfileofax Sat 20-Jul-13 11:07:27

So bogeyface, you reported saucyjack early for a "vile post" and yet you're happily throwing insults and personal attacks yourself. Double standards much?

The simple way of avoiding a hungry child is not to have them unless you can afford them. why should tax payers do so, why aren't these people going to their parents/grandparents, brothers or sisters for help if they can't feed their kids for the 6 weeks?

Worriedmind Sat 20-Jul-13 11:08:20

Is what you get on jsa similar to IS?

tethersend Sat 20-Jul-13 11:08:25

Saucy, those figures are academic now for many families as the HB cap etc. has since come in.

I think we also need to remember that FSM and food banks are not synonymous with 'benefits' and are available to working parents below a certain income. As are benefits.

manicinsomniac Sat 20-Jul-13 11:10:09

I think the vast majority of people can manage without FSM for the Summer. But I think, for the sake of those who can't, it's an important thing to be aware of and that it is the shared responsibility of everyone to do something about it.

In the summer holidays the church I go to takes a minibus of packed lunches we make and bag up (ham or cheese sandwich, piece of fruit, cereal bar, packet of crisps) to the estate near us and gives them out to local children.

To be honest the response has been mixed. Some people think it's patronising ('we can feed our own kids thank you very much' 'we don't need sandwiches from Bible bashers' etc) and others hang around pointing out children and telling us 'that one doesn't need a lunch, she's having you on' and stuff like that. It's also not as good as a hot meal. But, on balance, I think it's worth doing; there are undoubtedly some children there who won't get lunch otherwise.

Worriedmind Sat 20-Jul-13 11:11:08

Ahh the old don't have kids if you can't afford them chestnut.

Because no ones ever had kids and their circumstances have changed.

No ones ever been made redundant, fled an ex who has turned abusive, had their partner walk out or die...

tethersend Sat 20-Jul-13 11:11:19

"The simple way of avoiding a hungry child is not to have them unless you can afford them. why should tax payers do so, why aren't these people going to their parents/grandparents, brothers or sisters for help if they can't feed their kids for the 6 weeks?"

By this logic, the state should not intervene nor use taxpayers money to protect vulnerable children- or are you specifically objecting to using taxpayers' money to feed vulnerable children? Is taking them into care ok?

Pobblewhohasnotoes Sat 20-Jul-13 11:15:08

The simple way of avoiding a hungry child is not to have them unless you can afford them. why should tax payers do so, why aren't these people going to their parents/grandparents, brothers or sisters for help if they can't feed their kids for the 6 weeks?

Oh right, because peoples circumstances don't change (see my previous post for example). What an idiotic thing to say.

cheerfulweather Sat 20-Jul-13 11:21:30

I tried to report Saucyjack's outburst too, and suspect I wasn't the only one. Colourful language doesn't begin to describe it, and I'm not easily shocked.

Agree those figures must be out of date, £200 sounds more like the sum given to much larger families, too (have been watching those Nick and Margaret benefit programmes on the BBC smile)

£200 a week? If only. I would be rolling in it then!

I'm on IS after the ex walked out. My bills are also a lot more than £30. I had to rely on crisis loans when he first left and I am now paying them back at £25 a week as that's how much I have to pay. That means £50 off my IS. I only get IS every 2 week.

2 week a month I have to make £75 last by covering electric, odd bill and food for me and a toddler. Its not a lot at all. I also pay rent arrears which appeared while waiting for HB to sort out helping me when the ex walked out.

My son will start reception next year and I'm adamant I will be working by then but after speaking to the people at the job centre I wont be much better off so its likely I will need FSM for my son. I'm determined to get off benefits as its a shit lifestyle.

I owe money left, right and centre to family as I have had to borrow to pay electric. Living on benefits isn't fun and I dont know why anyone thinks people on them purposely choose to be or think we cant budget.

How can you budget something you don't have?! I live day to day

Bogeyface Sat 20-Jul-13 11:27:24

£200 a week for 1 adult and 2 children?! I had 5 children under 18 when I had to claim (thanks to redundancy, not a feckless benefit breeder thank you!) and we barely got that much and that included 2 adults! Oh and no housing benefit thanks to having a mortgage.

LEMisdisappointed Sat 20-Jul-13 11:30:15

You see, saucy - you are showing your utter ignorance in your reply to my post. Where did i blame Cameron? I am simply stating that if i were responsible for this country, that statistic would prevent me from sleeping at night.

Would you suggest we return to the days of the work house then saucy? While we are at it we could re-introduce the debtors prison too!

Why don't you just admit to being a bit of an arse who is posting simply to be controversial because you blatantly haven't really thought your post threough have you?

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 11:30:55

Sp i am right there with you! Its shit.

SaucyJack Sat 20-Jul-13 11:33:45

Yes, £200. The flat rate figures for IS and child benefit are for anybody to find online, and tax credits will be on, so don't try to pretend I'm lying.

£100 child tax credits, £70 income support, £30 child benefit. These were the standard rates, and I only came off benefits within the past year.

SaucyJack Sat 20-Jul-13 11:37:47

I'm not being an arse LEM. I'm obviously just spoiling people's bleeding heart rhetoric by posting the boring old facts from someone who's actually been there, done that and got the t shirt.

cheerfulweather Sat 20-Jul-13 11:38:05

But still out of date. With the new cuts, people will be needing to make up housing costs with their income, which in some cases will run into the 100s, apparently.

tethersend Sat 20-Jul-13 11:38:22

The HB cap came in a couple of weeks ago IIRC, although it has been in place in a number of areas for quite some time.

Even last year's figures are out of date.

This is what I currently get

£60 Tax credits
£20.30 Child Benefit.

^^that's every week.

Every second Wednesday I get £80/90 due to paying back crisis loans.

I'm obviously rolling in it. Well I would be should I not have bills and we had to eat and he had to be clothed.

And we didn't have to eat*

SaucyJack Sat 20-Jul-13 11:44:06

We wouldn't be subjected to hb caps/lha rates because we're in a council flat. I will concede that would make a difference;.

Wbdn28 Sat 20-Jul-13 11:45:27

Perhaps there are fewer school-related expenses in the holidays?

LEMisdisappointed Sat 20-Jul-13 11:49:58

Wbdn28? i don't think so!

PresidentServalan Sat 20-Jul-13 11:50:14

The only people who seem to be using words like scrounger are the ones arguing in favour of extra assistance. I know that it is said that everyone is one job loss away from benefits and of course that is true. But there are also those who are irresponsible and cba to do what is right for their children. Throwing money at it will not help. I do feel for people who are in a crap situation through no fault of there own but what about the minority who are neglectful or just carry on adding to their family knowing that the country will bail them out?

PresidentServalan Sat 20-Jul-13 11:52:20

And the govt is looking at giving more children school meals - what would you suggest we do about it? Do you all want to pay more tax and be worse off?

escape Sat 20-Jul-13 11:53:11

It's completely feasible to feed families nutritious square meals every day whilst living off the state - it is
What you buy,and cook and where from etc is much less of a choice, granted, but it can be done.
It's impossible to pay for treats, new this , new that, granted - but it is NOT impossible to feed and clothe your kids in items that are appropriate and fit.
Been there , done that too.

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 11:53:20

There are more in the holidays wbdn- unless your kids dont grow iou have yo replace uniforms. Our school jumpers are £18!! Ds1 wont be getting anything new this year but ds2 is starting p1 so it's unavoidable and he's very small so ds1's stuff doesnt fit.

escape Sat 20-Jul-13 11:54:29

This may be contentious - but I also think people who have lived beyond their means on credit for non essentials can be classed as neglectful too.

PresidentServalan Sat 20-Jul-13 11:55:43

And if you are happy to help them out, donate to food banks or get directly involved to help. What I am saying is that most parents are doing a fab job regardless of financial circumstances - if they don't, do we just give them loads more money

Arisbottle Sat 20-Jul-13 11:57:48

I would pay more tax to ensure children had a decent meal , surely most middle or higher rate taxpayers would

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 11:57:53

Loads more money? hmm

1) school meals dont cost the govt £2.20 each it isnt loads

2) it isnt giving te parents anything- its giving the children food. No money chamges hands

escape Sat 20-Jul-13 11:58:10

School Uniforms - what an absolute headache I agree - 3 x kids school shoes that hopefully last as long as possible - £35 a pair - and that's with careful shopping. At least supermarket & high street stores range have lowered prices, and tbh , the quality lasts. It's these 'independent' rip off merchants who want to charge 15 fora polo t shirt with a school badge embroidered on that should be vetoed by the schools. If they want the kids to wear the logo'd items , there should be a cap on prices - or some kind of co-operative where schools can negotiate cheaper prices for their parents.

PresidentServalan Sat 20-Jul-13 12:00:56

Like I said - if you want to help then do so but not everyone wants to/can do so.

escape Sat 20-Jul-13 12:01:25

Just thinking about FSM - which my kids had for a while. As soon as I became self employed and off IS etc, obviously I had to pay for them - I have 3 kids, so would have been £90 every 4 weeks - that's a chunk off a low income budget for sure - which turned into packed lunches, which certainly don't cost £30 a week.

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 12:03:49

I agree esape- if school uniform is mandatory then it should be at cost price to parents- purchased from the school. I only buy the logo jumper- everything else is un-logo from asda or will be ds1's stuff altered/ rolled up/ tucked in.

Ive just seen an ad for lidl selling school coats shoes and other stuff from monday in NI if anyone else lives here.

ExcuseTypos Sat 20-Jul-13 12:04:27

I certainly would Arisbottle. It would be a few extra pennies tax I expect.

I don't understand why anyone wouldn't think it was a good idea to ensure a child got a descent meal every day.

We live on one of the riches countries in the world. Every child and adult in the uk should have enough food.

escape Sat 20-Jul-13 12:11:24

I really, really think we need to do more to educate certain sections of society on cooking and feeding themselves and their kids.
Convenience crap isn't actually cheap - so it's not always about money.
It's about choices a lot of the time.
Choosing to spend money on certain things over others.

sweetmelissa Sat 20-Jul-13 12:12:48

I apologise for not reading the whole thread, but several things have occurred to me.

Firstly not all of the worse off families are entitled to FSM. Some are, of course, and to them it may be a lifeline. But many working parents, or those who cannot tick the right box on the form to be eligible, are also in dreadful financial circumstances. I know several working parents who cannot afford the cost of a school meal for their children, and struggle to fund the cost of a packed lunch for them. I feel for both.

Secondly, this week there has been several news articles and posts about schools. About breakfast clubs, after school clubs, holiday clubs, weekend clubs, sleepovers at school and now FSM all year. It seems to me is that schools could soon be taking over the parenting roles. If all of these plans go ahead, some parents would hardly see their children at all! It makes me a little uncomfortable somehow. For generations school has always been between 9 and 3 each weekday, and the parents are responsible for their children for the rest of the time. Parental responsibility. It has always been difficult for some parents, juggling commitments and so on, but that's just the way life is when you decide to have children. It just makes me feel that the schools/governments would be taking over the parental role if all of these (often helpful) changes were to take place. Like I said, I feel a bit uncomfortable about it somehow.

escape Sat 20-Jul-13 12:21:51

I agree Sweet Melissa, and I also think we are of a time where everyone is super keen to pass on as much responsibility in all aspects of their lives as much as they can.

WorraLiberty Sat 20-Jul-13 12:30:02

This country is fucked up and so are some people's priorities.

Over 60% of adults in England alone are overweight/obese and yet the number of underfed children seems to be growing rapidly.

Yes there are some people who will always put themselves before their children...whether that's overfeeding themselves, making sure they have the latest mobile phones, buying themselves cigarettes/alcohol while the kids go without.

But the bottom line is, while there are parents like that (and obviously not all parents of FSM kids are) the kids still need feeding.

I understand why some people on this thread are angry that some kids are not being put first...but they need their food.

And if the Government have to step in on the parent's behalf, then they absolutely should.

Worriedmind Sat 20-Jul-13 12:32:10

On the subject of school uniform can I add we paid £1.25 for girls trousers from Aldi last September and they have been great. Just I case they get them this year again and anyone needs any.

ExcuseTypos Sat 20-Jul-13 12:41:02

worra-*And if the Government have to step in on the parent's behalf, then they absolutely should*

Totally agree. I work in a reception class. Some 4 years come to school hungry as they haven't had breakfast. If the parents can't be bothered to feed their children properly then the govt has to ensure they are fed. It's as simple as that. Unless anyone has another suggestion to ensure children don't of hungry.

WorraLiberty Sat 20-Jul-13 12:46:08

That's what I mean ExcuseTypos. By all means get angry at the greedy/neglectful parents.

But feed the children in the meantime

It's not their fault sad

escape Sat 20-Jul-13 12:47:56

True. and yes to supermarket uniforms and the 'value' section of the M&S and Debenhams Range ( pretty much the same price) absolutely fab - Our stuff tends to last all year..

McNewPants2013 Sat 20-Jul-13 13:08:58

I can't believe that there are some heartless people out there who don't care if a child has enough to eat.

Something has to be done and not just short term.

I am thinking the government could have a funding scheme for when food backs run low on donations the volunteers could go and shop the stock up.

McNewPants2013 Sat 20-Jul-13 13:12:18

Regarding school uniforms, in DS old school the parent wrote to the head about relaxing the logo jumpers and polo shirts. We had someone who is really good at letter writing and it was signed by 200ish parents.

Since that she has relaxed the rule.

Rufus43 Sat 20-Jul-13 13:29:55

If free school meals are to be continued over the holidays (and I believe they should) then how?

Lots of disagreeing but I would be interested in hearing opinions on solutions from people with experience of the issues

For example giving people more money may not work as there is still no guarantee that the child will get any, same with vouchers really.

Councils providing more food directly via food banks for FSM. Council run free restaurants? Meals on wheels?

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 13:38:01

Rufus i think a few people have already suggested that school kitchens just open as normal during the summer for children on FSM

Rufus43 Sat 20-Jul-13 13:59:07

Yes I know that, I think that may work in some areas of high take up but not in mine.

Also who would do the food, school kitchen staff that may not want to work over the hols ( hence working in a school) would the council/school be happy with volunteers or council staff running it. Would it cause issues with opening and closing the school? Would you need lunchtime supervisors? Would parents need to stay? Would the food still be provided by the existing school meals people?

That's what I mean by how, school canteens is a good idea but is it really feasible? I'm probably wrong but using a school although perfectly logical comes with its own problems.

I am over thinking this aren't I?

McNewPants2013 Sat 20-Jul-13 14:04:03

I would happily volunteer to supervise on my days off as long as I could take DC. I bet many other parents also would.

WorraLiberty Sat 20-Jul-13 14:15:47

You're right Rufus

It would involve kitchen staff (agency staff if regular staff don't want to work).

Supervisors - because not all parents will be able to accompany their kids (having pre schoolers to look after).


School caretaker

In some areas I expect there will be lots of volunteers, but not in others.

Wbdn28 Sat 20-Jul-13 14:17:21

School uniforms are worn during term-time, so they're effectively a term-time expense. There's no rule that says they can only be bought in August. It makes more sense to buy them only when the child grows out of the previous size.

Other school expenses such as requests for trips, swimming lessons, transport to/from school, teachers' gifts, etc. apply in term-time only.

I'm certainly not saying the summer holidays aren't expensive - they can be, in various ways. But that's not due to schools.

If some children aren't being fed properly in the holidays then that's obviously worrying. But it's a separate issue, independent of free school meals.

kim147 Sat 20-Jul-13 14:20:12

I think schools could go a long way to reducing the expenses on parents.
But of course, it's a way of selecting the "right parents", isn't it?

WorraLiberty Sat 20-Jul-13 14:31:19

If some children aren't being fed properly in the holidays then that's obviously worrying. But it's a separate issue, independent of free school meals.

They tie together for some parents though.

Not all parents pay for requests for trips, swimming lessons, transport to/from school, teachers' gifts, etc.

So having to find money for extra meals can be really tough.

mumofthemonsters808 Sat 20-Jul-13 14:43:49

The school could also be proactive about operating a uniform exchange scheme. Over the years I have sent many outgrown uniforms (that are in good condition) to the charity shop, but it would be ideal if the school could operate a second hand uniform shop, every item could be 50p.

I wouldn't really say you were overthinking it Rufus - I think there would be quite a lot to consider with opening school canteens in the holidays - but nothing insurmountable with the right will and resourcing.

Would be great in general wouldn't it if there were more places you could get a healthy meal at lunch time - refectory style ? Such a shame when McD's et al seem the only option.
Our park cafe does soup and a roll mind you, also toasted sandwiches.
We might go there sometimes, but expensive for many.

MinimalistMommi Sat 20-Jul-13 15:02:32

"I think it's not just the cost, many families will feel the pressure of having to provide all meals for children for 6 weeks without any support."

Wasn't this thought of when child/children were conceived?

Is everything being cut back on, right to the bone? Like alcohol and fags and junk food? And non essential clothing? Sky? Internet?

This is a great website, she is feeding herself and her son healthy food for £10.00 a week.

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 15:04:35

I agree mumofmonsters- i think the school should be the only place to buy the uniform from, it should be cost price and they should run a second hand uniform donation and sale facility throughout the school year.

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 15:05:37

The logo stuff i mean. But they should relax the rules on non logo stuff too.

MinimalistMommi Sat 20-Jul-13 15:06:47

Happydoll said upthread: "It's a big WHAT IMO. Those parents should face charges of neglect. This is why I believe (in answer to your earlier question of my actual opinion) benefits should be paid in food and accommodation vouchers.

Couldn't agree more.

hermioneweasley Sat 20-Jul-13 15:07:33

A friend of mine was raised by an alcoholic father (mother left when she was young). It wouldn't matter how much extra he'd got in benefits, she woukdn't have seen any of it. She survived on the kindness of her friends' parents who took care of her at weekends and made sure she was fed and clothed. Her maternal grandmother turned her away saying it was her job to take care of her dad!

I suspect a school canteen over holidays would have been very welcome.

Aquamildred Sat 20-Jul-13 15:12:30

This is actually the first year ever that dd has not had new uniform for September, usually by then its either outgrown or manky.

This year I simply cannot afford to replace it so will have to manage the last school year of primary on what she has that is still ok.

I do think our school could try harder to help with uniform, they binned loads at end of year sad

Actually getting the uniform from the only supplier is four miles away and would cost me and dd around £7 return on the bus just to go and get.

IneedAyoniNickname Sat 20-Jul-13 15:13:23


Wasn't this thought of when child/children were conceived?

Sigh! My dc were conceived when I was in a solid, long term relationship. Their father was there physically, emotionally and financially.

I didn't plan for him to leave, and 6months later move in with a woman and her dc (who he is now classed as being financially responsible for)

alemci Sat 20-Jul-13 15:14:17

do they not do second hand uniform sales anymore in schools.

MM - see my earlier replies to similar responses. As I said "It's not only about the cost" - it's about the organisation/ parenting/ cooking and coping skills as well.

But if people don't have the empathy to imagine people different to them (and it's not me I'm talking about here) then really, what can you say ?

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 15:20:09

Anywhere alemci? Why not?

And "wasn't this thought of when child was conceived" makes me LOL really ....

Quite possibly conception of baby wasn't even thought of, let alone how to feed in school holidays in 5 years time !

Rufus43 Sat 20-Jul-13 15:31:15

Our school does 2nd hand uniform sales run by the PTA a few times a year. Seems to work well, and I live in a very naice area! They all have an eye for a bargain!

Only 8 Children receive FSM in our junior school of nearly 200, which is why I think it would be difficult to roll out in schools in this area, you could always make arrangements in a central place but that may mean travel issues

I do appreciate that in other areas that there may be a much higher take up of FSM which might make a solution easier

MinimalistMommi Sat 20-Jul-13 15:32:23

Quite possibly conception of baby wasn't even thought of, let alone how to feed in school holidays in 5 years time !
Maybe they missed sex education classes then? Sex=Baby

Aquamildred Sat 20-Jul-13 15:32:48

MinimalistMommi Sat 20-Jul-13 15:02:32

Wasn't this thought of when child/children were conceived?

I do not recieve FSM or benefits other than working tax but when dd was conceived I was part of a two parent working family and in university as well as working in a good job, because Husband was at home in the evening I worked long shifts around uni into the late evening.

Now I am a single parent managing on a low income, having to work around school hours because of lack of affordable or nearby childcare having left a partner who turned abusive once dc were born.

Shit changes.

crashdoll Sat 20-Jul-13 15:34:07

The child whose parents work 16 hour days and still does not receive adequate food has as much right to be fed as the child whose parents waste all their money on iPhones and cigarettes. To me - regardless of their parents' financial situation, those children equally deserve to be fed. Say what you like about feckless parents who prioritise themselves over their offspring but children do not deserve to suffer because of it.

Aquamildred Sat 20-Jul-13 15:34:31

Ours dont alemci

Aquamildred Sat 20-Jul-13 15:36:54

"Is everything being cut back on, right to the bone? Like alcohol and fags and junk food? And non essential clothing? Sky? Internet?"

Just to add I do not have alcohol. don't smoke, dont buy junk food, dont have ANY new clothes (dc do) don't have sky, I have to have internet for work (£12 per month)

GobbySadcase Sat 20-Jul-13 15:38:57

Re the parental obesity I do know of some who eat absolute shit to make sure their kids eat properly. High fat and sugar convenience meals, or sugary hot drinks replacing meals.

They're not troughing whilst the kids starved. I used to do similar and now have only lost weight through food shopping at markets. Supermarket healthy food was too expensive for all so I ate Iceland ready meals.

MinimalistMommi Sat 20-Jul-13 15:39:00

There should be free parenting classes that focuses on cooking healthy meals on a very restricted budget and that help with working on a budget but getting parents that actually need to the support to attend would be another matter. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.

Healthy meals can be made on very little. But, basically, the children in greatest need will suffer no matter how much money is handed out.

I agree with the fact that the food needs to go directly to the child's stomach so a summer time scheme would be ideal. But would the parents actually get the children to the location to let them eat? If they're not prepared to feed them at home and spend on other areas then I doubt it.

So how can we get the food directly to the child's stomach during the holidays? hmm

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 15:39:43

I see i have misread alemci's post. Apologies.

MinimalistMommi Sat 20-Jul-13 15:41:04

Aqua I assume you're feeding your children though to the best of your ability? What we are talking about here is the children that don't get fed.
I realise circumstances change.

Yeh, so maybe they did miss sex ed classes MM. And ?
As crashdoll says their children still need feeding.

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 15:43:27

I find it really interesting that people object to free meals for hungry children but happily dole out suggestions of free therapy, free cookery lessons etc for the parents! Why is free food not ok but free other stuff that costs more than the food and doesnt guarantee the kids get fed is ok? Logic anyone? confused

JazzDalek Sat 20-Jul-13 15:44:26

Alemci: no, but the parents could use a food bank.

This is not a solution. I cannot speak for other areas, but where we are you can't just turn up to a food bank, you have to get a voucher, available from the CAB and a few other organisations.
At the CAB we can only give out a total of three to any individual. When you've had three you can't get another. Each voucher provides 2-3 days' worth of food.
The very fact of somebody needing a food voucher is seen as evidence of a fault in the system, and as such for each one given out we are required to write a report on the circumstances which led to that person being in such need; these reports are collated nationally.

JazzDalek Sat 20-Jul-13 15:46:12

I should add that the limit of three vouchers per person is not in any way a judgment, it is purely due to the fact that demand is high and food banks don't have the necessary resources to help as much as is needed.

I do think more practical parenting classes talking about getting through the summer holidays on a budget, and good, nutritious, easy and cheap ways to feed a family would be good and helpful - run during last weeks of term in schools during school hours ?

MinimalistMommi Sat 20-Jul-13 15:47:20

Im I don't object to free meals for hungry children.
But isn't it better to teach the main provider how to cook healthy meals on very tight budget?

Why keep handing out fish when you can supply a rod and they can fish for themselves springs to mind?

MinimalistMommi Sat 20-Jul-13 15:48:04

Here's an example of a health soup that feeds four for 10p a serving:

MinimalistMommi Sat 20-Jul-13 15:48:18


alemci Sat 20-Jul-13 15:51:45

ok Jaz dalek but at least that would be one solution.

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 15:53:27

There are still the ones that will sell the rod and the kids wont eat. No matter how much you do to get people self sufficient in terms of managing money etc, there will always be people who dont make sure their dcs get fed and those dcs need, no deserve to be fed. There will always be a need for free school meals.

I agree classes/ workshops are a way forward aslong as they arent replacing the fsm that already exist. They will always be needed

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 15:54:53

To be clear- i dont think worshops are better alternative yo free meals- j think they should be in addition to free meals.

MinimalistMommi Sat 20-Jul-13 15:56:16

Im which is why I said up thread that the food needs to get directly to their stomachs, how to do that during school holidays is problematic.

MinimalistMommi Sat 20-Jul-13 15:58:42

I didn't say for a minute that healthy cooking workshops should replace FSM.
But seriously, if these workshops were provided would the parents that are actually allowing their children to go hungry in the first place(parents that choose fags over food, not all parents on benefits I want to make clear)actually turn up for those workshops. I sincerely doubt it! sad

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 16:02:10

I dont actually think it is problematic if it had proper govt support. Yes there would be issues to overcome and work round but these kids manage to get to school every week day, if schools were running a 2 hour summer scheme like the one my ds attended ( free place because he gets FSM) and offered a hot meal whilst there ( or option to take your own lunch for dcs who werent on FSM) then it wouldnt be long before those fsm children were getting their hot meal through the summer months.

I think those that are feeding poorly but just about adequately might go and learn a lot, but agree that maybe those whose children are actually going hungry may need other - more direct ? - support.

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 16:03:54

Yes that was my point mm. Those who choose the fags over food wouldnt attend courses which is why there needs to be free meals anyway with the course as an additional source of support for those that want it.

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 16:05:15

Btw- i dont know if surestart still do this but a few years ago in my area they ran a 6 week cooking skills course. Obviously not all areas fall within surestart zones though.

That sounds like a great scheme I'm - a two hour mid-day session with lunch included. The play and social aspect, and the support to the family from other adults would be great too.

MinimalistMommi Sat 20-Jul-13 16:08:25

Totally agree with everything you're saying Im

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 16:11:58

Just to be clear my sons scheme didnt offer a meal- just a snack of biscuit or toast and juice but i could easily see how it could work with a meal instead. Yes more costs of staff, food etc but worth it i think and i would happily volunteer to clean, supervise, wash dishes, whatever. I know others couldnt for various reasons, just saying i would, i know we are lucky to have what we do here

MinimalistMommi Sat 20-Jul-13 16:16:10

Im I agree, it could be done. Large vats of soup can be made for next to nothing. As long as its food, I don't think even variety would matter during the holidays. Just the fact that they are fed.

MinimalistMommi Sat 20-Jul-13 16:18:05

I guess there would still be children that are 'underground' and hungry. I know if families at the school that my children attend that can't even bother to get up to take their children to school in term time and their attendance rate is very low. I'm assuming (hoping) they're under SS radar if the head is aware of it.

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 16:19:36

Exactly. It could be done. Im sure there were many objections raised when FSMs were first suggested. And i'll bet there were real logistical issues that had to be ironed out but that the same with anything new. Trial and error til you get it right. It could work. You just need to get the right people to support it.

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 16:25:53

In NI they would be under the attendance officer attached to the education and library board for that area.

ImNotBloody14 Sat 20-Jul-13 16:25:53

In NI they would be under the attendance officer attached to the education and library board for that area.

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