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Marcus Rashford calls for guarantee free school meals will continue over summer holidays

Well done Marcus!

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Кирилл Венедиктов / Wikimedia

Marcus Rashford is calling for a guarantee that the free school meal scheme will continue over the upcoming summer holidays.

The Manchester United star forced the government to U-turn on the issue last year, and is once again calling on ministers to keep the support going over the holidays.

Rashford relied on free school meals when he was growing up, saying that if his family had received help in the summer it would have made a ‘massive, massive difference’.

Marcus Rashford / Twitter

During the lockdown school closures last year vouchers were offered, but the government had resisted calls to continue the coupons – worth £15 a week – over the summer until Rashford got involved and piled pressure on ministers.

The striker didn’t stop there, also shaming the government into supporting families in need over the holidays in November via a Covid winter grant scheme.

As it stands, since the first lockdown more than 300,000 additional children have become eligible for free school dinners, with the total number of people able to access the scheme rising to 1.63 million in October.

No10 / Flickr

Rashford told The Mirror: “I definitely think it needs to be extended and the reason why I say that is, I’m just going back to what it was like for me in the summers.

“It’s much more difficult for my mum to keep on top of. Obviously in my household there were four children so as a single parent it was obviously tough for her.

“But when we were all in school or in high school, she can rest a little bit because she knows that we’re having a meal there, and then potentially she only has to worry about one meal, which is dinner time.”

Fairholme Primary School

He continued: “So having free school meals throughout summer holidays for me would have made a massive, massive difference.

“And I feel like what’s happened this year, like the pandemic, it’s affected everyone in different ways.

“I just don’t see there being anything wrong with extending free school meals, like it’s going to do a lot more good than bad so I definitely think that that should happen.”

The footballer isn’t the only one calling for the scheme to continue, with Children’s Commissioner Rachel de Souza also asking for free school meals to be extended into the summer holidays.

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Band of Gold and Fat Friends creator Kay Mellor dies aged 71

A cause of death is yet to be confirmed

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ITV

Kay Mellor, the creator of Band of Gold and Fat Friends, has died at the age of seventy-one.

Leeds-born Mellor was known best for creating and writing the ITV series Fat Friends, which is credited with launching James Corden’s career.

She also wrote comedy and drama series such as The Syndicate, Girlfriends and Band of Gold, and spent time working on ITV soap Coronation Street.

A spokesperson for her TV production company, Rollem Productions, has today confirmed ‘with profound sadness’ that Mellor passed away on Sunday, May 15th.

The spokesperson said: “It is with profound sadness that we announce the untimely and sudden passing of our beloved friend, mentor and colleague Kay Mellor on Sunday 15th May 2022.

“We have lost a phenomenal talent and a true luminary. We ask that you please respect the privacy of the family and friends at this time.”

The BBC’s chief content officer Charlotte Moore has also paid tribute to Mellor following her death, saying she is ‘shocked’ and ‘deeply saddened’ by the news.

Moore said in a statement: “Kay was an outstanding writer and the creative force behind many of the nation’s best-loved television dramas.

“She wrote with such heart, humanity, humour and passion with strong female characters often taking centre stage.”

Katherine Morley, who worked with Kay on The Syndicate, also paid tribute to Mellor in a touching post on Twitter, writing: “I am in complete shock and utterly heartbroken to hear about Kay Mellor.

“She showed me so much kindness from the moment we met and she made everyone’s lives that bit brighter.

“I’m honoured to have known her and even more grateful for the opportunity she gave me.”

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Three-year-old boy mauled to death in ‘devastating’ dog attack in Rochdale

GMP have confirmed they are probing ‘previous incidents involving dogs’ at the same property

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Michael Ely / Geograph

A three-year-old boy has died following a ‘devastating’ dog attack in Rochdale yesterday afternoon.

Officers were called out to a property near Carr Lane in Milnrow, Rochdale, at around 1:15pm on Sunday, May 15th, to reports of a dog attack.

Upon their arrival, the toddler was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance, where he was tragically pronounced dead.

Police said they believe he ‘succumbed to injuries received as a result of a dog attack’.

Detective Superintendent Jamie Daniels of GMP’s Public Protection and Serious Crime Division said the force was probing ‘previous incidents involving dogs’ at the property.

No arrests have been made at this stage, though officers are continuing their enquiries today.

Detective Superintendent Daniels said: “This is a tragic, devastating incident and our thoughts are with the family at this horrendous time.

“We are investigating the incident and previous incidents involving dogs at this address.

“While our enquiries to find out what happened will be thorough and are very much in their infancy, we suspect that this little boy has, sadly, succumbed to injuries received as a result of a dog attack.

“I understand this is an extremely distressing incident for all concerned and this news will rock the local community.

Greater Manchester Police / Facebook

“I can only assure everyone that we will work relentlessly to establish the full circumstances that led to this tragedy and while we retain an open mind, this is now being dealt with as a criminal investigation.

“There will be a significant police presence in the area – we will be there to carry out an investigation and address any concerns residents may have.”

Anyone with information should call police on 0161 856 5413 quoting incident 1615 of 15/05/2022.

Information can also be reported online or by using the LiveChat function at www.gmp.police.uk. If you can’t report online, call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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Andy Burnham reveals new Clean Air Zone plan would be a ‘non-charging zone’

Greater Manchester’s Clean Air Zone was supposed to come into force this month, but was pushed back following region-wide back lash

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BBC

Mayor Andy Burnham has revealed he will be requesting permission to have a non-charging clean air zone for Greater Manchester.

Since its announcement last year, the controversial plans to charge certain motorists to drive within Greater Manchester was met with overwhelming backlash, with many saying the proposed Clean Air Zone would leave small and independent businesses bankrupt.

The charges, which were originally poised to come into force in this month, would have included £60 for HGVs, buses and coaches, £10 for vans and £7.50 for taxis and private hire cars.

Following region-wide protests on the matter, Greater Manchester Councils voted to refer the scheme back to the government at the start of the year, with them now having until July 2022 to revise the plan.

And giving an update on the progress of the revised scheme at a press conference this morning, the mayor unveiled his plans to introduce a new ‘non-charging’ zone for the region.

As reported by the BBC’s Kevin Fitzpatrick, Burnham outlined a new plan for a ‘non-charging zone’, that affects buses, coaches, HGVs and taxis.

Read More: Boris Johnson says Greater Manchester’s Clean Air Zone is ‘completely unworkable’

These vehicles will reportedly be offered grants to ‘upgrade to cleaner vehicles rather than face daily charges’, though the government will have the final say on this. 

Burnham will be requesting permission from the government to implement this newly revised scheme before the July 2022 deadline.

The Clean Air Zone was originally designed in an attempt to ‘protect everyone’s health by bringing harmful nitrogen dioxide air pollution at the roadside within legal limits’.

The government initiated the idea after the Supreme Court found it had broken the law by failing to protect people from polluted air.

In response, they placed legal instructions to ‘clean up the air’ on local councils across the country, with all ten Greater Manchester councils being directed to collectively reduce air pollution across the region by 2024.

Visit the official Clean Air Greater Manchester website for more information.

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