UNISON Northern Ireland


UNISON, the largest public service union in Northern Ireland, has launched a new ‘All We Need is Lunch’ Art Competition for children and young people in Northern Ireland, as part of the union’s campaign to highlight the benefits that providing universal, free, nutritious school meals would deliver.

The union is encouraging parents and carers, schools, youth clubs and childcare providers to engage with children and young people, and to support them to use the visual arts (a drawing, a painting, a poster, a photograph or a collage) to explore what school meals mean to them.

A wide range of fantastic prizes are available to be won by young artists and their supporting schools or youth organisations in each of four age categories. Entries will be judged by a panel of local artists and will be showcased online and in an Art Gallery.

Launching the campaign UNISON Northern Ireland Regional Secretary Patricia McKeown said:

“Our goal is that every child and young person in school gets a free, nutritious meal as part of their education package.  We want a future for them that is free from diabetes and heart disease. We want a school catering system that treats them all equally.

“We hope that this initiative will be a fun, positive experience that will give children and young people the chance to really think about what school meals can really mean to them - the good food, the sharing with friends, the healthy future, the great staff. 

“The competition is part of UNISONs wider campaign calling for the provision of free, nutritional meals for all pupils.  At a time when our schools are preparing for a phased return of pupils and with the Covid-19 pandemic having a major impact on family incomes, extending the provision of free school meals would act as a measure to promote public health, to reduce poverty and to improve learning outcomes for all children and young people. I wish the best of luck to all our young budding artists and would encourage everyone to get involved”.