The Independent has won the campaign of the year prize at a prestigious press awards for its Feed the Future series which called on free school meals to be given to more children from poor backgrounds.
The campaign exposed the plight of 800,000 children in England who live in poverty but are not eligible for free school meals because their parent’s income exceeds the threshold of just £7,400 a year.
The prize was awarded at the Society of Editors’ Media Freedom Awards, with judges praising The Independent for exposing shocking stories of how children were being forced to steal food in the cost of living crisis. They also praised it for its “tangible results”, with the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, subsequently agreeing to fund free school meals for all primary school children in the capital.
Southwark Council – one of four London councils that already provided free school meals to primary school children – also agreed to fund free school meals in the borough for secondary school children in poverty. An additional 100,000 children in London now get free school meals.
Campaigns editor David Cohen collected the award at a dinner held last night at the iconic Banking Hall in the City. The campaign was run in conjunction with the Evening Standard.
Announcing the winners, Dawn Alford, executive director of the Society of Editors, said: “The winners of the Media Freedom Awards 2023 highlight the outstanding scoops and investigations which have dominated the news agenda and effected real change over the past year.
“From agenda-setting exclusives to campaigns that will undoubtedly save lives, we are honoured to recognise and celebrate the vital work that the news media industry undertakes every day to hold power to account on behalf of the public.”