The national charity, Magic Breakfast, has received over £28,000 from West Lancashire Freemasons through an award from the Masonic Charitable Foundation. The grant will enable around 78,000 healthy and nutritious breakfasts to be provided at six schools across the north west in the coming year.
Why is this first meal of the day so important? Magic Breakfast says: “At least 500,00 children in the UK arrive at school each day too hungry or malnourished to learn. A hungry child cannot concentrate and will miss out on the most important lessons taught in the morning, if not given anything to eat and drink first thing. For just 34p, Magic Breakfast can provide children with a healthy breakfast at school, providing a boost to that four hours of crucial learning in the morning.”
The charity also points out: “Independent research, published in November 2016, funded by the Education Endowment Foundation and Department for Education, and carried out by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, found that in primary schools that offered a free and nutritious breakfast boosted their pupils reading, writing and maths results by as much as two months progress over the course of a year.”
To see at first hand the impact this is making at a local school, Derek Parkinson and Mark Matthews, together with Kevin Poynton made an early morning visit to Whitefield Primary School in Liverpool to talk to the children and staff about the initiative. They were joined by the charity’s ‘School Partner’, Emily Frezza who talked a little more about how the ‘breakfast club’ works at Whitefield School. She said: “The breakfasts are provided from 8:00am each morning and presently up to 70 children are being catered for. Children arriving late, who miss the club breakfast, are asked if they have eaten that morning and if they haven’t, bagels are handed out in the playground prior to the start of classes.”
The Masonic visitors had an opportunity to see just how many children are taking advantage of the opportunity to start the day with a healthy breakfast and chatted with both the children and staff about the initiative. It was obvious from the outset that for everyone involved the breakfast club plays an essential role for many children, not just as a way of getting a meal but also as it gives them a chance to socialise and interact with their peers.
At the end of the visit, Derek Parkinson said: “I’m very pleased we were able to help Magic Breakfast. Education is a priceless opportunity for children, it gives them the tools they need to succeed in life. Magic Breakfast helps them to take full advantage of it.”
The visitors also learned that the children make a voluntary donation each day of 20p but that this is not spent on food, rather it goes towards maintaining and replacing the toys and other equipment that the club uses. As one member of staff wryly remarked: “It’s great when they can all play outside in the better weather but come winter, we need things to keep 70 plus children occupied as they have their breakfast!”
More information about ‘Magic Breakfast’ can be found by following this link.