CHARITY: Hungry school children in Tower Hamlets will be provided a Magic Breakfast
W Bro Richard Cavanagh LGR reports
Over 1,000 hungry children will get their morning off to a better start, thanks to a grant of £60,000 from London Freemasons to children’s charity Magic Breakfast.
Magic Breakfast currently provides school breakfasts in Primary, Secondary, Special Educational Needs schools and Pupil Referral Units across Scotland and England, reaching more than 200,000 children and young people every day. Its aim is to end child hunger in the mornings. The charity works with their partner schools to provide a free nutritious breakfast to their students, ensuring they start their day with the fuel they need.
Across the country, there are 4 million children living with food insecurity (per The Food Foundation). Magic Breakfast has found that missing breakfast can have a detrimental impact on a child’s education; and by offering children a nutritious breakfast the charity enables them to concentrate better and fulfil their potential.
Each school supported in Tower Hamlets receives breakfast foods which may include cereals, bagels, beans, and porridge. School breakfast is free and accessible to every child at every partner school. Schools are encouraged not to means-test their students, meaning Magic Breakfast provision is inclusive, free of stigma and available to all children.
All partner schools receive support from a designated member of the Magic Breakfast team, their Engagement Partner, who is local to their region and able to help each school to set up and optimise their breakfast provision. Engagement Partners are trained to recognise the signs of hidden hunger and help teachers be best equipped to support children.
The grant will part fund the charity’s project in Tower Hamlets, which has one of the highest child poverty rates in London (56%). The charity supports more schools there than in any other local authority, with 10% of neighbourhoods there among the poorest in England. The project allows Magic Breakfast to partner with 22 schools in Tower Hamlets, where approximately 4,000 children access the charity’s breakfast provision each morning. The grant could provide as many as 230,000 servings of breakfast to over 1,380 of these children.
Breakfast provision has the potential to be a powerful intervention for children suffering the effects of deprivation. Independent research, funded by the Educational Endowment Foundation and carried out by the Institute of Fiscal Studies, found that providing a free, nutritious breakfast to Year 2 pupils in schools boosted their reading, writing and maths by an average of two months’ progress per year, compared to pupils in schools with no such breakfast provision.
Lindsey MacDonald, Chief Executive of Magic Breakfast said: “We’re very grateful to the London Freemasons for their generous grant, which will enable us to reach more hungry children and enable them to better concentrate in morning lessons. With their funding, we are able to help children in one of the most deprived areas of London and ensure morning hunger doesn’t act as a barrier to learning.”
Paul King from London Freemasons said: “I’m very pleased we’ve been able to support Magic Breakfast and the fantastic work they do to help hungry children across the country. This will allow them to focus on maximising their potential in education and remove the barriers that they are facing from having an empty stomach.”
For more information about Magic Breakfast, please visit www.magicbreakfast.com