16th April, 2015
Coutts London, where Magic Breakfast is currently Charity of the Year, invited us to attend an evening of celebration in order to congratulate the winners of the ‘£5k’ charity challenge. Coutts had asked their employees to compete in teams to raise enough money each to fund a new breakfast club in a primary school.
Team Abracadabra, a group of 18 swimmers and 2 lap counters, took on the challenge of swimming the length of the English Channel and back in relay. The swim took place in Crystal Palace’s Olympic-sized swimming pool with each member swimming 128 lengths in total.
An incredible total of £17,064 was raised by the team (with the funds still rolling in!) which will provide more than 75,000 Magic breakfasts!
Also recognised on the evening was the first team to reach the £5k milestone – the Investment Products team - who completed a ‘Live below the Poverty Line’ challenge where they agreed to spend less than £1 a day on food for a week, and raised £7,913 in sponsorship for Magic Breakfast.
The ‘£5k’ challenge brings the total raised by Coutts so far since July 2014 to over £75,000.
Harry Keogh, Senior Sponsor of the Coutts Charity Committee, said: “Magic Breakfast is such an important cause. No child should arrive at school too hungry to learn and every child should be given the best start so that they can go on to fulfil their potential. The efforts of the Coutts employees, in particular Team Abracadabra, have been astronomical. Congratulations on raising such a fantastic amount for such a good cause!”
Alex Cunningham, General Manager of Magic Breakfast, said: "A really big thank you to Coutts employees for the astounding amount of money they've raised which will buy tens of thousands of healthy Magic Breakfasts. We have a long waiting list of schools requesting urgent food aid - and we will be sending additional food to pupils taking their SATs exams this term - so every penny raised will feed a hungry child in genuine need."
Coutts CEO, Michael Morley, was there to hand over the cheque and congratulate the teams on their awesome achievement.
Coutts have been supporting Magic Breakfast since July 2014 and will continue to do so until the end of the academic year.
5th April, 2015.
A survey published today by the teachers’ union, the NASUWT, provides fresh evidence as to what Magic Breakfast’s CEO, Carmel McConnell, describes as “a child hunger epidemic” in this country.
Of the 2,452 teachers who chose to take part in the NASUWT survey:
* 78% said pupils are lacking energy and concentration as a result of eating poorly;
* 69% of teachers have seen pupils coming to school hungry;
* 56% said they had seen their school give food to pupils.
* 24% said they had brought in food for hungry pupils themselves.
Speaking on Sky News this morning, Carmel McConnell said she was “shocked, but not surprised” by the finding of the survey. She said she knew that many children were crying in classrooms from hunger and that, since she founded Magic Breakfast nearly 15 years ago, she had seen a real rise in pupils coming to school too hungry to learn. Official figures put that number at more than half a million children.
Magic Breakfast provides free, healthy breakfasts to over 17,000 children each school day thanks to generous support from food and financial companies, from players of People’s Postcode Lottery and because the charity won funding from the Department for Education. However, there are 270 schools on Magic Breakfast’s waiting list and the children at these schools may well be those whom teachers in the NASUWT survey report as “lacking in energy and concentration as a result of eating poorly”.
It costs Magic Breakfast 22p per child per day to provide a healthy meal of porridge, cereal, bagels and fresh juice. So a little money goes a long way and if all schools use Pupil Premium to support breakfast provision, Magic Breakfast believes it is possible to end, by 2020, the shame of hunger being a barrier to education in the UK.
Thursday 26th March, 2015.
BBC One’s The One Show made a lovely film about the work and origins of Magic Breakfast which was broadcast on Thursday 26th March. Filmed on location at Magic Breakfast partner school, The Willow Primary School in North London, and at the depot of our food delivery partner, Igloo Thermo-Logistics, it told the story of what motivated Carmel McConnell to give up her job to start giving healthy breakfasts to hungry school children.
Carmel said: “Once a teacher tells you that it is impossible to teach Maths because there are children crying with hunger in a classroom, once you’ve heard that, it doesn’t go away”.
The headteacher of The Willow Primary School, Dawn Ferdinand, said: “The reality is that some [parents] just don’t have the money to spend on giving their child a healthy breakfast every morning. Having a healthy breakfast means that they can get a great start to the school day. They can focus, they can concentrate, they can make progress, the attendance at the school has improved and certainly the punctuality has improved”.
Carmel: “If we don’t deal with this [child hunger] we are creating a pipeline of failure for this country as well as ignoring individual children who need us right now”.
You can watch The One Show film about Magic Breakfast via the BBC iPlayer. It’s about 9’50” from the beginning of the show:
Our thanks to all our generous partners and supporters including Quaker Oats, Tropicana, Tesco, Bagel Nash and Igloo Thermo-Logistics who get healthy breakfasts to hungry children every school day. Thank you too to The One Show and CTVC.
24th March, 2015.
Children at Scunthorpe primary school, Oasis Academy Parkwood, thanked players of People's Postcode Lottery this morning for their breakfast club funding. Players have doubled their award to Magic Breakfast this year to £200,000 and now support 62 schools in the North of England.
Before the funding, the club only had 20 children coming along. Now the slick operation feeds 80 children a nutritious breakfast of porridge, bagels, cereals and fresh juice in 40 minutes! Breakfast club manager, Viki Boult, is the brains behind the operation and it is easy to see her passion and dedication to giving the children a healthy and happy start to their day.
As soon as breakfast had been eaten, a team of older "breakfast buddies", led a dance troop. This term the dance is choreographed to 'Uptown Funk'. Millie, one of the "buddies" (age 9) said: "We wanted to find a way to keep all the little ones entertained so decided to lead a dance troop. Each term we choose a new song. I get so many hugs from children that my back hurts!"
Viki Boult said: "The children love the dancing and it's a great way for them to do some exercise and switch on their brains ready for lessons".
The children then cut a healthy cake made by Magic Breakfast's nutritionist, Harriet Green, to celebrate the success of the breakfast club and thank players of People's Postcode Lottery for making it possible.