Central Hall Westminster, part of Central Hall Venues group, played host to The Superpowers of Free School Meals conference, a joint initiative to showcase the benefits of England’s Free School Meals policy, on Tuesday 8th November.

Hosted by Leyla Kazim, BBC Radio 4’s presenter of the Food Programme, the event highlighted the positive effect of the policy from academic attainment to school attendance. The event was held during National School Meals Week by the ‘Feed the Future’ campaign coalition, including The Food Foundation, Chefs in Schools, Sustain, Child Poverty Action Group, School Food Matters, National Education Union, Bite Back 2030 and Impact on Urban Health. The campaign is run in partnership with the Independent and in association with the Evening Standard.

Held in the Aldersgate Room and attended by over 150 people, it began with a ‘school lunch’ served up by top chefs Tom Kerridge and Melissa Hemsley. Attendees were given a chance to meet people who have benefited from Free School Meals and young campaigners advocating the advantages of a healthy diet on their long-term wellbeing and development.

Following lunch, a panel session chaired by Laura Sandys, CBE, Founder of the Food Foundation, discussed how good school food could become a priority for all political parties. A second session chaired by Xand van Tulleken, Doctor and TV presenter, debated the many benefits of Free School Meals. There was also a spoken word performance carried out by youth campaigners and a closing session on the emerging vision and future priorities for a better school food system.

Sarah Ainsworth, CEO of Central Hall Venues, commented: “We were delighted to host The Superpowers of Free School Meals conference at our venue during National School Meals Week and see the wide range of discussions on this important topic. As an organisation which exists purely to maintain our historic buildings, such as Central Hall Westminster and donate to charitable causes, we love to host events that align with our values.”