Comedian Katy Brand raises £20,000 in 12 hours to support food charities

Comedian Katy Brand has raised more than £20,000 inside half a day in support of charities and food banks after MPs voted against extending free school meals over the holidays.

Labour’s motion calling the free school meals scheme to be extended over school holidays until Easter 2021, which came following a campaign from footballer Marcus Rashford, was defeated by 322 votes to 261 on Wednesday evening.

On Thursday morning, TV star and author Brand launched a GoFundMe page, called the Hungry Children Christmas Fund, saying she felt the need to raise money “while the adults fix the politics”.

The campaign quickly surpassed its £10,000 goal, causing Brand to revise the target up to £25,000.

By Thursday evening it was close to reaching that goal, having hit £22,000.

“I am blown away by the support it has received and want to ensure we raise as much as possible for children in poverty,” Brand said in an update.

In setting up the page, Brand said she wanted to do something to help because politicians “have failed us and the children”.

“The problem is now urgent and upon us,” she wrote. “In just a few weeks, schools will close and pandemic-hit families will have empty cupboards.

“Marcus Rashford will continue his good work, I have no doubt.

“But it shouldn’t all be on him.

“As he continues the pressure for a political solution, here is a chance to give whatever you can to provide something to help in the short term.”

She added that the money raised would go to “charities with a long and reliable track record of providing food for children in poverty, along with local food banks in hardest hit areas”.