Leeds’ business’ step up to the mantle following Government inaction

After more than 300 MP’s voted against providing extended free school meals for vulnerable children during half term, business’ in Leeds have took it upon themselves to provide for the community.

Leeds’ restaurant ‘Mumtaz’ is among those offering free meals to children aged 4-16 during half term, in order to feed the children shunned by the government’s decision not to extend free school meals over half-term.

The movement, spearheaded by Manchester United star Marcus Rashford, put pressure on the government to provide vulnerable children with food during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Asad Arif, manager of Mumtaz said, “As a human being I felt like I had to do something.”

The hospitality industry is struggling, but Asad pledged his support to the community, expressing, “I don’t know how long we’re going to last, but right now I can do something.”

Others such as teacher Kelly Compton in Leeds have taken it upon themselves to help children who suffer from poverty. She explained, ”free school meal vouchers are incredibly needed, sometimes this is the only meal the children are having. Personally, I see the effects of child hunger.’’ Kelly was prompted to set up a support scheme on social media, where she delivers meals to families for free.

When asked about the Mumtaz scheme, Kelly explained, ‘’I think it’s great for helping children in need. The government has a duty to provide the necessities for its citizens and families shouldn’t have to rely on the kindness of individuals or businesses to survive.’’

The popularity of the Mumtaz scheme has meant it has reached thousands of people online. ”We tweeted it and – bang – non-stop, every second, all platforms.. a lot has piled on,” Asad explained, ”Many parents can just be in a hole that they just can’t see light from. Don’t judge, just do whatever you can. You don’t have to save the world… just do something.”

About the Author

Hadiyah Ilyas and Daniel Flynn
Hadiyah and Daniel are LeedsNow journalists.

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