Mayor’s Fund for London to Play Key Role in £4 Million Extension of Free Holiday Meals Partnership

Young person holds plate of food
18th January 2024

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced plans to extend funding to his free holiday meals programme, helping young Londoners and their families struggling with the cost-of-living crisis. The funding extends the partnership with the Mayor’s Fund for London and The Felix Project that has so far helped to deliver more than 10.1 million free meals to families across the capital since April 2023.  

The Mayor’s proposed £4m extension of funding will help the Mayor’s Fund for London and The Felix Project continue to reach low-income families and young people in need. The Mayor’s Fund for London’s pan-London Kitchen Social community hubs network will provide families across the capital with free meals at a range of school holiday activities, helping them to learn about health and nutrition whilst also tackling isolation. 

Speaking on the announcement Jade Harris, Head of Food and Communities, Mayor’s Fund for London said:  

“This second year of funding from the Mayor of London today will ensure hundreds of thousands of children have access to nutritious food and wrap-around support in the school holidays in 2024, as community partners and families continue to struggle with the rising cost of living and food costs. In 2023, over seven million meals were distributed through our community partners in the first year of this partnership.”

“Continued funding for the Mayor’s Fund for London’s holiday food provision via our Kitchen Social community hubs network will provide not only nutritious meals but life changing skills and activities to young people. Teaching young people how to prepare healthy food on a budget and providing free school holiday activities to support the physical and mental wellbeing of children and young people all helping to tackle social isolation, as well as providing hot meals in our hubs and recipe kit boxes to take home.”

“This reduces young people’s anxiety around the affordability and accessibility of food during the school holidays. As one of our community partners told us, being able to offer food to young people; ‘makes them happy and allows them to achieve more. You can’t underestimate the power of a hot meal’.”

In April 2023 the Mayor, patron of the Mayor’s Fund for London, announced £3.5m in emergency funding to provide free meals to hundreds of thousands of Londoners during the school holidays and weekends over a 12-month period due to the cost-of-living crisis. Since then, more than 10.1 million meals have been provided, with more than a million more expected to be given out by the end of March. In January it was announced that more than one million meals were delivered by the Mayor’s Fund for London and The Felix Project partnership over the festive period.  

Speaking about the Mayor’s Fund for London’s food and wellbeing programme, community hub partner Gifty Nmaju, the Founder of Knowledge and Practice, said: 

“Having food recipe kits makes it easier to signpost to other resources helping to break down barriers to entry for further support services, letting people know it’s OK to receive help.”

The partnership continues the Mayor’s and the Mayor’s Fund for London’s work to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, as families across the capital are faced with high energy bills, rents, and food costs. The funding comes as polling from YouGov, commissioned by City Hall, found that more than a third (35 percent) of parents or carers of children under 18 are buying less food and essentials, with 41 percent using less water, energy or fuel to help them manage living costs. Three in ten (30 percent) say they are ‘financially struggling’. 

The Mayor’s Fund for London is the largest provider of holiday food and activities in the capital, supporting children to be happy, healthy, and motivated to learn. The partnership with the Mayor and the Felix Project forms part of the MFL’s Food and Wellbeing programmes. This sees the provision of healthy meals to low-income families and young people through Kitchen Social hubs and community partners where food is provided with a range of activities. Alongside the delivery of Take & Make recipe-kit boxes, Create & Make family meal kits, and Heat & Eat single portion meals.