Barnet Council has made a £50,000 start-up donation to a fund set up to ensure young people do not go hungry during the school holidays. 

The money was announced following a high–profile campaign by Manchester United star Marcus Rashford calling on the Government to provide free school meals during the holidays. 

Extra stocks will also be put in place at the borough’s essential supplies hub to ensure food banks can meet demand during half-term and throughout the winter, the council said. 

But Barnet’s Labour group has criticised the council for not going far enough, claiming that with 8,600 children on free school meals in January, £50,000 amounts to only 39p per child per day for the half-term and Christmas breaks combined.

Labour leader Cllr Barry Rawlings (Coppetts) said: “Not only is this not enough to solve holiday hunger, it is also being offered in the least effective way – by asking organisations to bid for the money and provide the meals only to those children attending their centres. 

“The best way of getting the money to the children that need it is to give it – via vouchers if necessary – directly to the parents of those children entitled, otherwise it is unlikely to reach all the children who need it.” 

Neighbouring Enfield has announced that parents of children who receive free school meals will be offered food vouchers through their schools to cover the half–term break. Haringey Council said it will provide a £15 voucher for the parents of every child in receipt of free school meals to cover the October holiday. 

Barnet Council’s £50,000 donation was made to the Space2Grow: School Holiday Food Grant Fund, which was set up in partnership with the Young Barnet Foundation. 

Cllr Dan Thomas, leader of Barnet Council, said: “We are now halfway through the half-term and it is clear that the extra money that the council put aside is more than enough to support all those asking for help during the school holidays.

“No child should go hungry, and we are making sure that the council is doing what is necessary help those families who need it – giving them the right support over this school holiday and the Christmas break.

“That is why our help is also extending beyond holidays, and beyond those who have access to free school meals – making sure that those who are struggling, whatever their age, have access to the support that they need.”

Organisations in Barnet can apply for funding at

Donations can be made at:

Barnet Council has been approached for comment.