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Rashford's campaign leads to food voucher u-turn

Free school meals will be provided to around 1.3 million children during the summer holidays in a U-turn sparked by a campaign from Marcus Rashford.

In what is being called the ‘Covid Summer Food Fund’, the scheme will last for six weeks and will provide eligible children in England with food vouchers valued at £15 per week.

Rashford penned an open letter to all MP’s in the early hours of Monday morning, after the government had initially planned to end the food voucher scheme during the Summer holidays, urging them to reconsider and ‘find your humanity’.

The Englishman received overwhelming support across social media, with over 265,000 likes and 150,000 retweets of his letter on Twitter in just over 24 hours.

The Department for Education had initially said it would not extend the voucher scheme despite his emotional letter to MPs, in which he said "the system isn't built for families like mine to succeed"

Despite an initial pushback, Rashford continued to campaign for free school meals, gaining support from a number of Labour MP’s, calling it a welcome move and "victory for the 1.3 million children who were at risk of going hungry this summer".

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's spokesman said he "understands children and parents face unprecedented situations" during the coronavirus outbreak.

The spokesman added Mr Johnson welcomed Rashford's "contribution to the debate around poverty and respects he's been using his profile as a leading sportsman to highlight important issues".

Downing Street claimed the extra support will cost around £120m - in addition to £63m already pledged for councils to help families and kids over the summer holidays.

Marcus Rashford’s dedication to this cause has shed light on how professional athletes can use their platforms to campaign for change and unite people across the country.