The UN agency, responsible for providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children worldwide, is launching its first ever domestic emergency appeal amid a surge in families facing food poverty. The organisation said the coronavirus pandemic is the most urgent crisis affecting children since the Second World War. It has now pledged a grant of £25,000 to the charity School Food Matters which will use the money to feed vulnerable children and families in Southwark, south London, over the two-week Christmas holiday.


Labour MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark Neil Coyle said: ‘Didn’t happen in the global financial crisis or ever before but now Unicef intervening in Southwark after a decade of Tory damage to social security and beyond.’ Anna Kettley, director of programmes at Unicef UK, said it was responding to the ‘unprecedented impact of the coronavirus crisis’ on families in need. But she called for a longer-term solution to tackle soaring rates of food poverty. ‘This is Unicef’s first ever emergency response within the UK, introduced to tackle the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus crisis and reach the families most in need. ‘The funding will help build stronger communities as the impact of the pandemics worsen, but ultimately a longer-term solution is needed to tackle the root causes of food poverty, so no child is left to go hungry.’