Children talk about their battle with food poverty in campaign backed by Emma Thompson

Tia, from Darwen, says there is a stigma around being poor

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Dame Emma Thompson is supporting a ­campaign to end child hunger, saying it is “a moral duty” to ensure all youngsters have ­access to a healthy and affordable diet.

She teamed up with young food ambassadors from the Food Foundation to raise awareness of the millions of children who struggle with not having enough to eat.

And she says it is urgent the government takes action to put this right.

Emma said “The UK is the the sixth richest economy in the world there is absolutely no need for any child to go hungry.

"The fact that they are and in increasing numbers suggests cracks in a broken food system that can and must be repaired as a matter of the utmost urgency.

"Apart from the moral duty we owe to children, this is a severe public health problem.”

Emma Thompson is backing the campaign
(Image: Getty)

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Tia, 17, Darwen

"Often, I have to get something from the freezer for our tea as we can’t afford fresh fruit and veg.

"When we were younger, we’d often go to my Nan’s to eat as we didn’t have enough at home or we’d run out of electricity on the meter.

"It’s the stigma about being poor, kids try and hide it. It’s wrong that kids in this country go hungry. I see it every day where I live.

“The fact that they are, and in increasing numbers, suggests a broken food system that must be repaired as a matter of urgency.”

Saffron says her family have struggled to buy food

Saffron, 15, Portsmouth

"My family have often struggled to buy food. We were evicted a couple of times, it led to really tough times.

"Mum and Dad both try and work but even then food is really expensive and I have three brothers and sisters.

"I’m also autistic and can be really picky what I eat – it’s an increased pressure. I want government to think more about what kids eat and how bad junk food is."

Rabiya, 18, Huddersfield

“I grew up in a single parent household and things were tough for my Dad. He has always worked but with five of us to feed it was often hard to get enough food to eat.

"The other thing that I have seen is how hard it can be for someone from a BAME background to ask for help.

"We are proud and often people in our community don’t talk about how much they are struggling and need food aid.

"The stigma and shame are the main reasons I campaign so hard for a children’s Right2Food. But even though we took our Charter to Downing Street over a year ago the Government are not really doing enough to get rid of child food poverty.”

Jani from Huddersfield didn't go to PE as it would make her more hungry

Jani, 18, Huddersfield

"I became a food ambassador as my mum often didn’t have money for food – I saw her struggle all the time.

"I’ve always wanted to do sport but sometimes I’d not go to PE or training as it would make me more hungry.

"For kids to follow their dreams, they have to be able to eat. If you’re hungry you can’t study. I used to go to bed early to forget feeling hungry."

Tyler says Boris Johnson doesn't know what its like to be poor

Tyler, 15, Blackburn

"It’s the poorest kids on free school meals who used to get bullied at school most. It’s so wrong as they are already having a tough time.

"But if you stand up for them the bullies do it to you as well, so normally we can’t help.

"If Boris Johnson came to my school, I’d show him what goes on and how it feels to be poor. But I don’t think he’d do that, would he?

Jacob, 16, Glasgow

“Most people won’t know or realise kids are going without food. Me and my best pal had been best friends for ages before I realised something was wrong. One Monday, we went to school together as usual. Half way through the day, I noticed he didn’t have anything to eat.

"At lunchtime, I got one of the free school meals but he didn’t. After, I went out to play with him, but he didn’t look well.

"He fainted straight after. I took him inside with a teacher and gave him something to eat. He told us he hadn’t eaten for three days. No child should go through that, especially my best friend.”

Fayeth, 14, Rhyl

“Two people in my family are high risk – my mum is epileptic, and I only have one lung. During lockdown, we’ve struggled to access food – when my dad’s not around we go out and do one big shop, so it lasts us.

"My dad’s hours were reduced at work so neither my mum and my dad are working at the moment.

"With me having three little sisters, sometimes it can be really hard to say to them – no you can’t have any food.

"At school, we get free school meals. Some people, if they find out, they don’t want to be your friend anymore.”

Asha, 14, Cumbria

“My mum and dad split up when I was young and she often struggled to have enough money to pay the bills, rent and have enough left over for food.

"We used to just have smaller meals and eat what we had in the cupboards. It’s really hard for kids who are hungry at school as they struggle to concentrate and then your grades can go down.

"That’s why I became a food ambassador as I want all children to have enough food so they can learn and have equal chances in life.”

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