Magic Breakfast - Fuel For Learning
Press Releases
Magic Breakfast's response to Kellogg’s/YouGov Holiday Hunger Survey

17th July, 2015.


Magic Breakfast calls for a national strategy to end child holiday hunger in the 6th richest economy

A survey carried out by YouGov, funded by Kellogg’s, and delivered to MPs today, suggests that almost a third of parents on lower incomes have skipped a meal so that their children could eat during the school holidays.

Magic Breakfast provides a healthy breakfast free of charge to 440 schools across the country, making sure over 17,500 children have a nutritious start to their morning in the classroom.  The charity first raised the importance of school holiday food provision in 2009 when it established its Magic Breakfast 365 programme. This offers healthy breakfasts, exercise, plus cookery lessons where children can learn how to make food for the rest of the day. Now the charity is calling for a national framework to make sure children at risk of hunger and malnourishment are offered food support during the long summer holidays.

Magic Breakfast’s CEO, Carmel McConnell, said: “We know that many of the children in our partner schools are going home to empty cupboards. Hunger takes summer away from these children and in a rich and caring society that is simply unacceptable. Families cannot find the money to provide all the extra food and childcare needed during the holidays. Teachers tell us that it takes several weeks after the school holiday ends to return children to health and readiness to learn after 6 weeks of poor diet. This is shocking in the 6th richest economy in the world.

With help from our corporate partners, we can provide breakfast, exercise and cookery support for just £7 per child per day, which is surely a good investment in the well-being and development of each child?  We want to see a national integrated holiday hunger programme, to offer the right amount of food and food skills training to children who are at high risk. We welcome the APPG on School Food’s focus on work in this area.”

Magic Breakfast 365 will be provided during the Summer 2015 holidays in a number of schools in Tower Hamlets with support from Morgan Stanley. The charity is actively seeking investment to take the programme into all its partner schools.



Magic Breakfast is going through a phase of unprecedented growth. Since September 2014 the charity has almost doubled in size, and with support from our corporate partners now provides a healthy breakfast to 17,500 children in 440 schools all over the country. This is up from 8,500 children in 250 schools last September.

As the Government lead partner on school breakfasts, the charity has started 184 new school breakfast programmes in partnership with the Department for Education, with the goal of making each one of these schools financially self sustaining by March 2016.

This work is against a backdrop of increasing child hunger, evidenced by school partners asking for more food aid, our waiting list of several hundred schools (more than we have ever known), and evidence from food banks who report more children needing their support.

We are keen to build on our corporate partnerships to grow the scale of our offer and develop a long term partnership to help children for both school term time and holidays.

Magic Breakfast is part of the School Food Plan Expert Panel, Feeding Britain and is also planning to take on 50 new schools each term during 2015/16.

Magic Breakfast's response to SACN advice to halve sugar intake

17th July, 2015.

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) is advising the government to halve the recommended intake of free sugars to help to address the growing obesity and diabetes crises and to reduce the risk of tooth decay.

Free sugars are those added to food (e.g. sucrose (table sugar), glucose) or those naturally present in honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit juices, but exclude lactose in milk and milk products.

In its "Carbohydrates and Health" report, published today, SACN – an independent body of expert nutritionists – recommends free sugars account for no more than 5% of daily energy intake. This is:

19g or 5 sugar cubes for children aged 4 to 6,

24g or 6 sugar cubes for children aged 7 to 10,

30g or 7 sugar cubes for 11 years and over, based on average population diets.

Magic Breakfast’s Head of Nutrition in Schools, Harriet Green, says: “The SACN report highlights that the main sources of refined sugars are sweetened drinks and cereal, confectionery, fruit juice and sugar added at the table. An unhealthy breakfast can be a main source of these types of sugars so at Magic Breakfast we not only provide low sugar, healthy breakfast options to schools, but also help to educate school communities how sugar affects health. We believe more needs to be done to support young children and their families to be able to make the right decisions”.

Carmel McConnell, founder and CEO of Magic Breakfast: “The SACN guidance on sugar today is welcome. Magic Breakfast provides healthy, low sugar breakfasts to 440 schools every day, reaching over 17,500 children. We make good nutrition part of the school day for children who are at risk of hunger and malnourishment and we call on Public Health England and the BDA to partner with us to reduce the damaging impact of excess sugar on the health of these children".

Useful links:


MAGIC DINNER 2015: Fundraiser on 15th June



Hoi Polloi presents...


Created by 7 top London chefs

Hosted by Laura Jackson & Alice Levine

In aid of Magic Breakfast charity


Magic Breakfast will hold its inaugural Magic Dinner at Hoi Polloi, Shoreditch, on Monday 15 June, hosted by Laura Jackson & Alice Levine, with dinner cooked by seven of London’s most exciting chefs.

In the kitchen alongside Hoi Polloi’s head chef Braden Charlesworth will be Isaac McHale (The Clove Club), James Lowe (Lyle’s), Nuno Mendes (Taberna do Mercado & Chiltern Firehouse), Lee Westcott (Typing Room) and Andy Oliver & Mark Dobbie (Som Saa), each cooking a signature course.

Magic Dinner will be a fundraising feast for Magic Breakfast, a national charity with its origins in Hackney. The charity delivers free, healthy breakfasts to over 17,500 school children in deprived areas who would otherwise be too hungry to learn.

100 tickets, priced at £100 each, are now on sale with all proceeds going directly to the charity.  In addition to an incredible menu, guests will enjoy some of Hoi Polloi’s legendary cocktails as well as wines by Fields, Morris & Verdin. Guest should also, in true Hoi Polloi fashion, expect a little unexpected entertainment.

At least 500,000 children in the UK go to school hungry each day (Source: Nutrition Bulletin). A hungry child cannot concentrate, missing out on core, morning lessons and a chance at educational success.

Magic Breakfast works with 440 schools, but has around 300 schools on its waiting list requesting urgent food aid. Funds raised from Magic Dinner will enable the charity to start working with the most critical of these waiting list schools.

Carmel McConnell, founder and CEO of Magic Breakfast, said: “Poverty and hunger should not be a barrier to a child’s education and we can change that for as little as 22p per child per day. I am passionate about helping each child achieve their potential so am indebted to the amazing chefs, Laura Jackson, Alice Levine and all the staff at Hoi Polloi for giving their time so generously to help Magic Breakfast solve the problem of child hunger as a barrier to learning in this country”.

Magic Dinner is being supported by The Independent on Sunday. The paper’s editor, Lisa Markwell, said: “I’m in awe of everything Magic Breakfast does to battle child hunger in Britain and so I am thrilled to be involved with the Magic Dinner at Hoi Polloi. As well as The Independent on Sunday partnering up for the event, I’m personally rolling up my sleeves. Food and writing are two of my favourite things, so to be able to combine them by editing a special newspaper for the event is a challenge I can’t wait to get my teeth into…”

James Lowe, the head chef of Lyle’s: “I’m excited to be cooking for Magic Dinner, it’s such a great way to raise awareness for the charity. I think it’s fitting to be cooking with the best chefs in East London seeing as how the charity started in Hackney”.

Lee Westcott, Executive Chef of Typing Room in Bethnal Green Town Hall Hotel: “I wanted to get involved in Magic Breakfast charity as I truly admire what it is all about. I think education is so important for how it shapes us in our future lives and having hungry kids at school is never good for their concentration levels”.

Tickets can be purchased here:





For media enquiries please contact Sophia Dettmer on 07803 800164 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For additional enquiries about the event itself please contact Natalia Ribbe at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



About Magic Breakfast

Magic Breakfast delivers free, healthy breakfast food to 440 schools in England, giving over 17,500 children fuel for learning each school day. With the generous support of food and logistics partners, each breakfast costs the charity just 22p a day per child – about £10 per term.

Headteachers at the charity’s partner schools report better concentration, behaviour, attendance and attainment among children receiving Magic Breakfast food. The charity also advises schools on nutrition, food hygiene, on the setting up of reading schemes, and on how to reach the most vulnerable and hungry children and families in the school community.

Magic Breakfast wants to apply its successful model to solving the problem of child hunger as a barrier to education for good by 2020. This means reaching more schools and providing resources to all hunger hit schools.




About Jackson & Levine

Jackson & Levine is a joint venture from Laura Jackson and Alice Levine.  Both working in TV and Radio they found common ground over their lifelong love of food whilst sifting through clothes at a jumble sale.  They then decided to take on the world of food themselves and the eponymous supper club was set up in late 2013.  Since the supper club was founded the girls have hosted bespoke events for numerous fashion brands, collaborated with Jamie Oliver, written a food column for Company Magazine and now are bi-monthly contributors on ELLEUK.COM.

Laura and Alice have some on-screen projects in the pipeline and are excited about taking Jackson & Levine on the road in the summer to some of their favourite festivals.


About Hoi Polloi

Hoi Polloi is a modernist brasserie for a forward-thinking Shoreditch, open from 7am daily for breakfast, lunch, dinner, late supper, nightcaps and all the bits in-between. Hoi Polloi’s to the point menu, under the watchful eye of Head Chef Braden Charlesworth, is all about seasonal cooking that makes use of quality English ingredients, common sense and good taste.  Address: 100 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6JQ.


About the Chefs

Braden Charlesworth is the recently appointed head chef at Hoi Polloi at Ace Hotel London Shoreditch.  An Australian chef with British heritage, he is a keen forager and gardener and is passionate about cooking as locally and seasonally as possible.  Prior to joining Ace in 2013, Braden was head chef at Flemings in Mayfair.

James Lowe is the head chef of Lyle’s in the Tea Building in Shoreditch. Formerly part of the chef collective the Young Turks, he went on to work as Head Chef of St. John Bread and Wine.  Lowe offers a seasonal British menu, drawing inspiration from his travels and always looking at ways to collaborate with chefs around the world.  His Guest Series has become a popular stalwart of Lyle’s, having hosted James Henry of Bones in Paris, Elena Reygadas of Rosetta in Mexico and Junya Yamasaki of Koya in London.

Isaac McHale is the Head Chef of The Clove Club in Shoreditch Town Hall.  His restaurant offers a cool, modern approach to British food, with all the elements of the menu locally sourced and changing daily, and the restaurant also boasts a selection of meats which they cure in-house.  Isaac’s previous experience in kitchens includes The Ledbury, Noma and as 1/3 of the chef collective the Young Turks.

Nuno Mendes is a Lisbon born Michelin star chef and founder of multiple restaurants in London.  His home country, Portugal, as well as his extensive experiences abroad have been a constant source of inspiration for his cooking. He is a pioneer in gastronomy and always searching for innovative and inventive culinary techniques and experiences.  After being at the helm of The Loft Project and Viajante, Nuno went on to open Chiltern Firehouse in 2014.  However it is his most recent project, Taberna do Mercado, which opened to the public 11th May 2015, which is a true reflection of his culinary passion.

Andy Oliver & Mark Dobbie are the co-head chefs of Som Saa currently residing in Climpsons Arch. They met in London in 2009 at the Michelin starred Nahm restaurant under the tutelage of the legendary David Thompson and since then have continued to deepen their understanding of Thai food and culture. Andy went on to work at Bo.Lan in Bangkok, Nahm London and then at the Begging Bowl in Peckham. Mark meanwhile rose to become head chef at Pok Pok in New York and was instrumental in them winning a Michelin star in 2014.

Lee Westcott is Executive Chef of Typing Room in Bethnal Green Town Hall Hotel.  His background includes working with Michelin-starred chef Tom Aikens as head chef of his restaurant for two years, as well as stages at Per Se and Noma. Typing Room is his first solo venture, where he showcases the best in seasonal and local British produce.


The Menu

1st Course – Braden Charlesworth: Spring onion, buttermilk, spiced aioli;

2nd Course – Lee Westcott: Celeriac, fermented mushroom, pear & hazelnut;

3rd Course – James Lowe: Raw scallop, cabbage juice and seaweed;

4th Course – Isaac McHale: Smoked Wild Sea Trout, Horseradish;

5th Course – Nuno Mendes: Iberico Pork, red pepper paste and clams;

6th Course – Andy Oliver & Mark Dobbie: Fermented rice and duck egg custard with sweet Thai snacks.


About Fields, Morris & Verdin

Fields, Morris & Verdin has evolved from a small agency and retail wine business in Chelsea through organic growth and acquisition to become one of the UK’s foremost wine importers and distributors serving the UK restaurant trade.  Since the company’s earliest days their focus has been on working with family owned wineries, whose wines echo their sense of place and who see themselves as custodians of a wine legacy for future generations. This long-term focus on working with the best, and not necessarily the most fashionable, has led to today’s unique portfolio that contains many of the world’s finest wineries from, at the last count, 14 countries.


1 YEAR, HALF A MILLION MAGIC BREAKFASTS: Children at Scunthorpe Primary School thank Players of People’s Postcode Lottery for their breakfast club funding

Tuesday 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 – which supports breakfast provision in 62 schools in the North of England.

Before the funding, the club only had 20 children coming along each morning. Now 80 children start their school day with a healthy Magic Breakfast of porridge, bagels, cereals and fresh juice.

At least 500,000 children in the UK go to school each day too hungry to learn (Source: Nutrition Bulletin). A hungry child can’t concentrate and can be disruptive to the rest of the class. It is estimated that, on average, 66 million minutes of teaching time are being lost every morning dealing with hungry children (Source: Quaker “Feed Their Future” Report, January 2015). Magic Breakfast delivers free, healthy breakfast food to 430 schools in England (7 of which are in the DN postcode region) giving over 17,000 children fuel for learning each school day.

For many pupils at Oasis Academy Parkwood their school’s Magic Breakfast club is a vital source of nutritious food (43% of pupils at Oasis Academy Parkwood are eligible for Free School Meals). Attending breakfast club increases concentration, attainment and attendance, helps with social skills and can play an important part in reducing malnutrition and obesity.

Tracey Norriss, Principal, Oasis Academy Parkwood: “Magic Breakfast has provided us with the opportunity to extend the school day and provide our pupils with the best start to their school day. The overwhelming response from parents, pupils and staff is a real positive one, with parents saying that their children love attending the breakfast club and they know they are getting a healthy and filling breakfast. The pupils love the food and activities and the staff have seen a real difference in the children’s concentration and behaviour when they attend Breakfast club. This has become a real positive and enjoyable part of our school life and we would like to thank players of People’s Postcode Lottery for the funding to enable us to embed this fantastic initiative”.

Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: It is lovely to see the positive difference that eating a healthy Magic Breakfast makes to a child’s day and we are delighted to be able to double the award from players this year to ensure that even more children across the North of England benefit”.

As soon as breakfast had been eaten at Oasis Academy Parkwood this morning, a team of older children, who help out as breakfast buddies, led a dance troop of breakfast club pupils. Millie (age 9), one of the breakfast dance leaders said: “We wanted to find a way to keep all the little ones entertained so decided to lead a dance troop and each term we choose a new song. I get so many hugs from children that my back hurts!”

The children then cut a healthy cake made by Magic Breakfast's nutritionist to celebrate the success of the breakfast club and thank players of People’s Postcode Lottery for making it possible.

Looking forward to some thank you cake



Thursday 19th March, 2015:  The Secretary of State for Education, the Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP, joined pupils at St Eugene de Mazenod Primary School’s Magic Breakfast club in the London Borough of Camden this morning to see how a healthy breakfast settles children and helps them to concentrate in their core morning lessons.


Magic Breakfast delivers free, nutritious breakfast food to 17,000 children daily in areas of England where children would otherwise start their school day too hungry to learn. The charity has over 180 partner schools in London, 9 of which are in Camden.


Magic Breakfast supplies porridge, healthy cereal, bagels and fresh orange juice to primary, secondary, PRU and SEN schools where more than 35% of pupils are eligible for Free School Meals. The charity has received funding of £1.1 million from the Department for Education to set up breakfast provision in 184 schools, but has more than 270 schools on its waiting list and is anxious to reach them as soon as possible.


Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, said: It was absolutely fantastic to join Magic Breakfast at St Eugene de Mazenod school. Having a healthy breakfast is a crucial way to start the day and helps ensure children can concentrate ahead of lessons. It was great to sit down and have breakfast with some of the children, and hear from them what they liked most about it. I am delighted that the Department for Education is supporting what is clearly a brilliant initiative”.


Carmel McConnell, Founder and Chief Executive of Magic Breakfast, said: “We are delighted with this show of support from the Secretary of State for Education at St Eugene de Mazenod Primary School. Our partnership with the Department for Education, corporate and charity partners ensures that thousands of previously hungry children are able make the most of the most important lessons, which are taught in the morning. Given that half a million children are in families which cannot afford to feed them, our hope is that we can quickly scale up our operation and accelerate the Magic Breakfast programme to help all hunger-hit schools”.


Greg Donohue, Associate Headteacher of St Eugene de Mazenod Primary School, said: “The provision of a healthy breakfast has made a significant difference to the school’s punctuality attendance figures. Children who have had a Magic Breakfast are calm and ready to learn. The school will continue providing breakfasts to children who need them, many of whom come from disadvantaged homes”.


Carmel McConnell: “I am very pleased to have been able to showcase the work of our partner school, St Eugene de Mazenod Primary, rated Outstanding by Ofsted, which has embedded a healthy Magic Breakfast as part of their school day”.

Education Secretary visits St Eugene de Mazenod's Magic Breakfast club




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