Photo courtesy of Tesco

Tesco launches £5 million grant programme to improve health of school children

Produce Business report

In a quest to provide impoverished school children with more healthy food, including fruits and vegetables, Tesco is reimaging its community funding effort with a new £5 million grant programme that will launch this summer.

More than 5,000 schools will be able to apply for the grants, which will deliver a series of £1,500 checks to those chosen to participate. Along with charitable partner Groundwork, Tesco says schools will be able to utilize the funds to provide “healthy food and activities,” including recreation equipment that can keep children growing and feeling good.

“Tackling classroom hunger is vitally important in helping children get a stronger start in life,” Jason Tarry, Tesco UK CEO, said. “Children with enough food have more energy, better concentration and ultimately do better in school. We know that urgent action is needed to improve the lives and prospects of young people. We hope our initiative will help families and schools that are struggling to keep children fed.”

Not only are the statistics around children eating fresh produce dire, but 78% schools often have to dip into their own coffers to deliver initiatives and food to give them access to healthy diets, according to numbers from Groundwork. The Child Poverty Action Group notes that 800,000 children are both hungry and not eligible for free meals at their schools. That is why actionable grants such as this one from Tesco are so important.

“We know that schools are now doing everything they can to help families cope with the rising cost of living, but that school budgets are also under huge pressure,” Graham Duxbury, Groundwork’s UK Chief Executive, said. “We’re really pleased that through the Tesco programme, we can now focus attention on helping schools provide extra support to those who need it most – helping families make ends meet and helping children learn and flourish.”

According to Tesco leaders, customers will vote on applications in individual stores. They can be done via blue token voting boxes located near checkouts. Last year, Tesco delivered £1 million in grants through its Community Grants Fund. It plans to award another 200 of its £5,000 ‘Golden Grants’ to schools and local projects in 2023-24.

Since the start of Community Grants in 2015, Tesco has given more than £100 million to 50,000-plus community projects.



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