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School meals: Leeds United matches players' £25k to Rashford campaign

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image captionLeeds United said it would match its players' donations to the Marcus Rashford school meals campaign

Leeds United has said it will match the £25,000 donation pledged by its squad to Marcus Rashford's campaign for free school meals during holidays.

After captain Liam Cooper revealed the players' donation, the club said it would stand "united" to help feed vulnerable children.

It comes after a Labour bid to extend free school meals was rejected by MPs.

The government said it had already introduced more effective measures to support families.

image captionMarcus Rashford was made an MBE earlier this year

England and Manchester United striker Rashford, who was made an MBE earlier this year, stepped up his school meals campaign this week after Conservative MPs rejected Labour's Opposition Day motion to extend the provision of free school meals by 322 votes to 261, with five Tory MPs rebelling.

"MarcusRashford We all stand united at this time, #LUFC will match the £25,000 donated by our players," the Premier League club tweeted.

Leeds City Council announced its "Healthy Holidays" programme - to provide free activities and meals to vulnerable children in the city - on Friday, following Rashford's increased efforts.

Cooper responded on Twitter with the players' donation, which Rashford responded to with a heart emoji.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

"Let's do this Leeds! No children should ever go hungry. £25k guaranteed from the lufc squad. We stand with you Marcus Rashford," Cooper tweeted.

He later said: "Me and the players are really fortunate and we are in a position to help.

"Therefore we are delighted to support the campaign from Leeds City Council, inspired by Marcus. No kids should go to bed hungry."

Rashford told politicians to "stop stigmatising, judging and pointing fingers" as he warned a "significant number" of children would go to bed hungry and "feeling like they do not matter".

He called on people to "unite" to protect the most vulnerable children, adding: "For as long as they don't have a voice, they will have mine."

The government has ruled out extending free meals nationwide beyond term time - as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have done - saying it has given councils £63m for families facing financial difficulties due to pandemic restrictions, as well as increasing welfare support by £9.3bn.

However, many Conservative and Labour councils have since agreed to supply meal vouchers for pupils.

Fish and chip shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes have also been among those to support the initiative, many of them directly commenting on Rashford's Twitter feed.

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Related Topics

  • Free school meals
  • Manchester
  • Leeds
  • Marcus Rashford

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