For immediate release
Sharon Hodgson MP Nominated for Grassroot Diplomat Award for Holiday Hunger Campaign
London, UK – April 20, 2016 – Sharon Hodgson MP for Washington and Sunderland West has been shortlisted from over 100 politicians this year for the 4th Annual Grassroot Diplomat Initiative Award. The award recognises outstanding politicians and diplomats who are representing civilian interests at the highest level in areas of policy, social and business overall. Ms Hodgson is nominated for her work on ensuring that children have meals during school breaks.
Ms Hodgson has been a prominent voice in campaigns for children to have a decent meal during school break, after successfully securing commitment from the Prime Minister in protecting free school meals for children. Ms Hodgson’s victory was the culmination of a campaign that was spearheaded by the school food sector and backed by the authors of the School Food Plan and owners of the LEON chain of restaurants, John Vincent and Henry Dimbleby, who recommended universal free school meals for all primary school children when funding could be found in the School Food Plan.
As Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for School Food, Ms Hodgson has made it the group’s priority during this Parliament to address holiday hunger and set up a “Holiday Hunger Task Group” chaired by Lindsay Graham. She noted that children from poorer families were often left hungry during school breaks with limited activities that offered them stimulation. She supported the creation of the Holiday Hunger Task Group to tackle the impact of school holidays on struggling families. School holidays are difficult for low-income families who children usually receive free school meals or support from breakfast clubs. Food banks are in more demand and six out of ten parents with household incomes of less than £25,000 are less able to afford food outside of term time.
As a result of the Task Force, schools across the UK are opened during holiday offering sporting activities and breakfast clubs with the assistance of parents volunteering their time. The Task Force has also managed to attract the attention of Greggs and Kelloggs who provide food and financial support in keeping Breakfast Clubs open during the holiday seasons, although further corporate support is required to meet the demand for these activities.
Ms Hodgson’s leadership on food and inequalities has also led her to start the APPG on Basketball. Basketball is the second team sport to be played amongst 14 year olds and has the highest percentage of BME interest, according to Sport England. As part of her ambition to grow the sport in the UK, Ms Hodgson hosted the “Shoot Some Hoops” event at Parliament in September 2015 to raise awareness of the sports potential in the UK and is looking to roll out the activity as part of the Holiday Hunger campaign across various schools.
Talyn Rahman-Figueroa, Executive Director of Grassroot Diplomat, said: “All too often, we hear stories of our governments not representing our needs but Grassroot Diplomat looks upon selfless individuals in a position of power, who work tirelessly for their communities. The award seeks to create a culture of positive role models within our governments which encourages others like them to follow suit. Grassroot Diplomat winners go beyond their job descriptions and those shortlisted for the award should be proud to be recognised this far.”
Ms Hodgson has shown consistent dedication and leadership in various school-related projects and goes above and beyond to bring innovative ideas to the government.
Join Sharon Hodgson MP and other government nominees for the gala dinner at The May Fair Hotel, London on Wednesday 20th April, 2016. For ticket information please visit: http://www.grassrootdiplomat.org/book-tickets or call 07511 816689.
Further details about the awards can be found on: www.grassrootdiplomat.org/annual-awards
About Grassroot Diplomat
Grassroot Diplomat is a non-profit diplomatic consultancy with the mission to build trust and strengthen relationships between governments and civil society. As an independent agency, Grassroot Diplomat shows no allegiance to a solitary government but will act in the interest of the people, no matter where they are or what state their country is in. We focus on improving public diplomacy activities by engaging government officials on sustainable social campaigns and investment projects that offers a positive rate of return for their people.
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