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Marcus Rashford slams free school meal food parcels as ‘not good enough’

‘Just not good enough’

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RoadsideMum / Twitter

A mum has shared the contents of the Free School Meal bag she was provided on Twitter, leaving many people shocked, including Labour MPs and Marcus Rashford. 

The unnamed mum who uses the Twitter account ‘RoadsideMum’ shared a photo of the food parcel she received, estimating the total cost to be just £5.22 instead of the £30 voucher she is entitled to.

The furious mum added a picture of the food, that is meant to feed her children for 10 days. It included a loaf of bread, pack of pre-sliced cheese, two bananas, three apples, two carrots, one tomato, two small portions of Soreen, a pack of pasta, two potatoes, three Frubes and one tin of Heinz No Added Sugar Beans. 

The food parcel was issued instead of a £30 voucher.  The mum wrote: “I could do more with £30 to be honest.”

One mum, Jack Monroe, who is also an author, TV presenter and activist, has taken to Twitter to share varying food shops of a £20 value at different supermarkets. 

She added a picture of a massive food shop for £20 without using bulk discount and the differences are astonishing. 

Chartwells UK responded to RoadsideMum on Twitter, writing: “Thank you for bringing this to our attention, this does not reflect the specification of one of our hampers. Please can you DM us the details of the school that your child attends and we will investigate immediately.”

One Twitter user replied to the thread saying: “Hampers! That is a pitiful amount of rubbish. Why this has to be put into the hands of a profiteering, private company is beyond me.

“This lady and the many others know how to feed their children decent food. Yet they are not trusted with a voucher to shop for food. Scandalous!”

Many people are calling for Chartwells to release specifications and/or images of what their ‘food hampers’ should look like. Others are calling for them to release the documents that indicate what was agreed with the government to supply each child. 

Many others are sharing their shopping lists that either equal £30 or are less, and they are considerably larger than this attempt. 

Labour Deputy Leader Angela Rayner has weighed in on the situation, writing: “A 50 grand bonus for Dominic Cummings. £22bn wasted on failed test and trace. £1bn in contracts dished out to their donors and cronies.

“Yet this is what the Tories decide to give our hungry children to feed them for 10 days.  Disgusting, disgraceful and we will not accept this.”

Marcus Rashford has now also criticised the free school meal packages, writing: “3 days of food for 1 family … Just not good enough”.

He later added: “Then imagine we expect the children to engage in learning from home. Not to mention the parents who, at times, have to teach them who probably haven’t eaten at all so their children can … We MUST do better. This is 2021.”

Labour leader Keir Starmer has also called out the parcels, describing the situation as ‘a disgrace’. He tweeted: “The images appearing online of woefully inadequate free school meal parcels are a disgrace. Where is the money going?”

He added: “This needs sorting immediately so families don’t go hungry through lockdown.”

The Department for Education has replied also, tweeting: “We have clear guidelines and standards for food parcels, which we expect to be followed.”

However, MP Simon Clarke – who voted against giving vouchers to children in school holidays – accused people of whipping ‘a storm up on Twitter’.

He wrote: “There are a lot of people seeking to whip a storm up on Twitter tonight. Too much to hope in age of instant outrage to wait for the facts before jumping in. DfE are likewise investigating.”

Government guidelines state that packages should contain food items instead of prepared meals so parents can make healthy lunches. Plus it adds that parcels should not rely on parents having additional ingredients at home. The hampers should also cater for pupils of all diets. 

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Toys R Us is returning to UK high streets this month

It’s called Toys R Us, Toys R Us, Toys R Us!

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Robin Webster / Geograph & Terence Ong / Wikimedia

Toys R Us has announced it will be returning to the UK high street on a date this month.

It’s official, the iconic toy super store will be making a comeback in a matter of weeks.

The retailer — a total paradise for children — is set to open nine high street stores across the UK in partnership with WHSmith.

Some five years after closing 100 of its UK stores, shoppers will be able to physically see and test out toys in its stores, rather than going off reviews and zooming-in on some pictures online. 

Open Grid Scheduler / Flickr

From Saturday June 10th, customers will be able to browse aisles and aisles of the most popular brands of toys from Barbie, to Hot Wheels, Star Wars, Lego, Fisher Price and so much more.

You can take your children or even go for a gander for nostalgic reasons — hey, who’s judging?

Parents will be pleading with children to put toys back on shelves as they do their best to get them to leave the store. Don’t say you haven’t been warned!

The shops will be divided into different sections including age, interest, and category, as stores will be decked out with interactive experiences, activities, and demonstration tables.

Ryan Smith / Flickr

And of course, Geoffrey the Giraffe will feature as the store mascot, just like old times. 

The nine shops will open at the following locations throughout the summer:

  • Canterbury (St George Street)
  • Chelmsford (High Street)
  • Cheltenham (High Street)
  • Cwmbran (The Mall)
  • Oxford (Cornmarket Street)
  • Poole (Towngate Shopping Centre)
  • Reading (Broad Street)
  • Solihull (Mell Square)
  • York (Monks Cross retail park)
Dorsetdude / Wikimedia

Commenting on the exciting return in partnership with WHSmith, Sean Toal, managing director for WHSmith High Street, said: “At WHSmith, we’re always exploring new opportunities to launch exciting new product ranges to our customers on the high street, and our partnership with Toys R Us certainly does this.

“The brand has long been known for its exceptional range of toys and games and complements our existing offer well.

“Across each of the nine locations, we have a great team of colleagues who look forward to welcoming many new and existing customers over the coming weeks and showcasing the new store layout and, not forgetting, Geoffrey the Giraffe.”

Mike Kalasnik / Wikimedia

The first Toys R Us store in partnership with WHSmith will open on Saturday, June 10th in Monks Cross Retail Park, York, with a special grand opening event.

The remaining eight stores will gradually open their doors throughout the rest of the summer — yes, that soon! While the majority of the stores are down south, hopefully some more Northern sites will eventually open – including here in Manchester.

You can find out more on the website HERE.

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Morrisons cafes serving half-price fish and chips just £3.49 for one day only

Get your Friday chippy tea deal!

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Rept0n1 / Wikimedia & Morrisons

Morrisons supermarket cafe will be serving half-price fish and chips at just £3.49 for tomorrow only.

The supermarket will be halving the price of a plate of fish and chips in all its cafes in celebration of National Fish and Chips Day on Friday, June 2nd.

For one day only, hungry customers can catch the bargain chippy tea staple, priced at just £3.49 — not bad eh?


The children’s mini fish, chips and peas dish will also be reduced. You can net this one for just £2.74.

To claim the National Fish and Chips Day offer, diners will simply have to present their More Card at the café checkout.

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Mum issues desperate plea to find missing 14-year-old girl

Katelan was last seen on Friday

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Family handout & West Yorkshire Police

A mum has issued a desperate plea to find her missing 14-year-old daughter.

A distraught mother has issued a plea to find her daughter who went missing six days ago.

Katelan Coates was last seen on Friday May 26th. She was last seen leaving Burnley bus station after travelling from Todmorden, West Yorkshire.

Her family say she may have travelled to Manchester or Stockport. It is believed the teenager could have used public transport to travel around the North West.

Family handout

In an appeal on Wednesday morning, May 31st, Katelan’s mum Tina wrote: “Please, please help find Katelan. Missing since Friday, that’s five nights sleeping god knows where?

“She might go in a McDonald’s, hang out on a park or city centre? We’re considering Burnley, Blackburn, Preston, Manchester and Blackpool, Stockport.

“She uses buses and trains to get around, she is only 14 years old. Please ring 999 log 1971 26/5.”

West Yorkshire Police

Lancashire and West Yorkshire police have also appealed to the public in a bid to help track the teenager down and bring her safely home. Katelan was seen arriving at Burnley bus station at 6.53pm last Friday.

She is described as a white female, around 5ft 5ins in height, with long brown hair. She was last seen wearing an orange vest top, black leggings and a black coat.

In a further appeal later yesterday, mum Tina wrote: “This post is just for Katelan Coates. You know how much you’re loved.

Family handout

“You know we will do anything/everything to help you. If that means we move or change school to give you a fresh start we will.

“If you can at least let us know you’re okay. Our door is always open, no questions or judgement. Love you always, mum and dad.” 

Officers are ‘increasingly concerned’ for Katelan’s welfare and are urging anyone with information on her whereabouts to get in touch ‘without delay’.

Members of the public can contact police with information via the LiveChat function on the West Yorkshire Police Website, or by calling 101 quoting West Yorkshire Police reference 1971, of May 26th. 

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