As a charity dedicated to ending child morning hunger now and for good, we know that delivering breakfasts in our partner schools each morning is only one piece of the puzzle. We must also support Government in making good breakfast policies that can support all children and young people nationwide.
Last month we launched Breakfast Can’t Wait in Scotland. If you’ve been following the campaign on our social media channels, you’ll know that two years ago, the Scottish Government committed to a universal breakfast programme in primary and special schools across the country. Since then, the Government has chosen not to serve a single slice of toast, piece of fruit or bowl of porridge to children at risk of morning hunger.
The campaign calls upon the First Minister, Humza Yousaf, to end the delay and put breakfast on the table now – children and young people in Scotland cannot wait any longer. Our recent poll showed that an overwhelming majority of Scottish adults believe not just that breakfast is a right, but that delivering on the breakfast promise should be a priority for the First Minister in his first six months in office.
The campaign was picked up by mainstream Scottish media online, on TV and on the radio – coverage which elicited a formal statement from the Scottish Government, in which they reiterate their commitment to providing free school breakfast.
We brought together the voices of young people and parents, and last week we hand-delivered to the Scottish Parliament a letter from concerned parents, calling on the First Minister to act.
Celebrities joined the campaign – like actor James Cosmo, who called on the First Minister in a moving video after seeing first-hand the impact breakfast clubs can have each morning. Our supporters in Scotland have been writing to their MSPs urging them to act, and we have spoken directly with MSPs across all major parties about the need for the Government to act now, the hunger they see in their own communities, and the transformative effect that breakfast clubs can have on attainment for children and young people, and MSPs have spoken up about the importance of breakfast.
The need has never been greater. Each day that this promise remains unfulfilled 250,000 children are at risk of starting their school day too hungry to learn.
Today, on the final day of parliamentary business before the Scottish Parliament goes into recess for the summer, we were happy to see the importance of breakfast mentioned by Brian Whittle MSP, and we’re making a final call on the First Minister to hear our words, heed the call of young people, and act.
We have asked him to include breakfast provision in the Programme for Government for the coming year. If he does this, we are committed to working with his Government to implement a breakfast programme that supports as many children and young people as possible. If they don’t include breakfast, our work to mobilise and hold the Scottish Government to account continues.In response to the Programme for Government 2023-24: Equality, Opportunity, Community Magic Breakfast Chief Executive, Dr Lindsey MacDonald has said: