Advertiser letters: School dinners and search your Red Cross ancestors

Universal free school meals should be extended all chilldren in state funded schools. Picture: PA IM

Universal free school meals should be extended all chilldren in state funded schools. Picture: PA IMAGES - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Letters, contributions and comments sent in to the Advertiser this week.

No child should go hungry

Unmesh Desai AM, London Assembly member, City and East, writes:

This week marks School Meals Week, acting as a reminder of how important it is that our school children get a healthy meal during the school day.

Since their introduction, universal infant school meals have ensured that thousands more children in London get a nutritious lunch.

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This is an important step in the right direction – it helps their learning and their health - but children don’t stop needing decent food when they are seven.

With the threshold for free school meals in Year 3 and above unfairly limited to children in families earning less than £7,400 a year under the Universal Credit rules, thousands of young Londoners are not getting the school dinner they deserve.

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Poor diet in childhood all too often leads to poor outcomes in later life.

The government would help children now and help prevent problems in the future if they extended universal free school meals to all children in state funded schools, starting with primary schools and nurseries.

Hungry children do not learn and children in Tower Hamlets deserve better.

Were your ancestors Red Cross volunteers?

Dr Alasdair Brooks, British Red Cross heritage manager, writes:

On Sunday the people of the UK will commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War.

The British Red Cross has a near 150-year history of supporting people in the UK during times of crisis and, between 1914 and 1918, more than 90,000 people volunteered for the organisation.

Most of these volunteers were women and included such notable figures as the author Agatha Christie, campaigner Vera Brittain, Wimbledon champion Lottie Dod and suffragist Sophia Duleep Singh.

However, the vast majority of First World War volunteers were ordinary women, and men.

They gave dedicated, compassionate and skilled humanitarian service at a time of national crisis.

Your readers can use our new online VAD database to find out if their ancestors, especially women relatives, performed a civilian role during the war.

Searchable by name, location or occupation.

Anyone can access the website at and potentially discover new and illuminating facets to their family history.

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