Free meals are to be offered at all state-funded nurseries across Southwark to help beat poverty.
The scheme is already happening at primary schools where ninety-two percent of school-aged children have taken up the offer of free lunches, and the scheme is now expanding to nurseries and school nursery classes.
A cabinet member for community safety and public health, Cllr Evelyn Akoto, said to Southwark News: “In Southwark, we are proud to have been one of the first boroughs to provide universal free healthy school meals to all our primary schools.
“We know this makes a difference to our young people and our families.
“We think it is vitally important that our primary-age children are entitled to a free, nutritious lunch, and are pleased to say over 92% of our pupils take up this offer.
“Building on this success, we are now extending an offer of healthy food to all maintained nurseries and school nursery classes because we want to support families in Southwark, at a time when we know many are struggling.”
One in four children starting reception are overweight or obese, and one in three have poor concentration due to hunger.
Unhealthy foods are usually the cheaper and more accessible option for parents who struggle to make ends meet; this can have a substantial impact on children’s health and concentration.
The scheme will help 62 nurseries and 2,800 children as it is rolled out in phases to summer 2020.
The full cost of the scheme has not yet been set, but an estimate of £200,000 has already been reserved.