Dudley North MP Ian Austin has backed a community campaign to feed hundreds of local children over the summer holidays.
He dipped into the Good Causes Fund he set up when he refused to take the MPs’ pay rise and donated £300 to back the Holiday Café, co-ordinated by The Friends of Grange Park.
The Rotary Club, the Community Forum and local businesses Klick Business Solutions, Thomas Dudley LTD and MET Recruitment all donated money to support the project which provides tokens which families exchange for a children’s meal and a drink in a network of local cafés.
Lunch On The Run, Gather, Bake ‘n’ Butty, The Coffee Shop, Fountain Arcade Café, have all supported the project and provided a range of meals to suit all tastes, and give children in receipt of the token a hot meal. In the first 10 days the project served 90 meals, which goes to show the need we have in Dudley.
The project will run throughout the school holidays and it is anticipated more than 300 meals will be provided to hungry children.
Ian Austin said:
“It is a scandal that projects like this are needed at all in this day and age, but more and more families are struggling to make ends meet or being hit by benefit cuts and lots of children are going without a square meal, so well done to Cathy Bayton, the Friends of Grange Park and local businesses for helping out.
“I always thought it was unacceptable for MPs to have a big pay rise when times are so tough for many local families and I’m keeping my promise to use the money to support good causes instead."
Cllr Cathy Bayton, one of the ward councillors for St James said:
“We trialled this at Easter and it was huge success so we decided to roll it out on a larger scale, but without the fantastic support of local businesses, The Rotary Club, MP Ian Austin and the Community Forum fund this would not have been possible."
Andrea Childs, CEO of Klick Business Solutions, praised the innovation of the project, saying:
“We like the fact that the money goes straight to the aim of the project – feeding children – there are no administrative costs”.
Karen Paskin, Chair of the Friends of Grange Park said:
"We know that nationally families, are struggling to make ends meet over the summer holidays.
"There is data, from The Child Poverty Action Group to say that 70% of children who are living in poverty live in a family with one or more adult in employment.
"In St James’s Ward in Dudley North, 35% of children are living in poverty so we thought the Holiday Café Project would help to alleviate some of the pressures families are under.”