3rd August, 2018

So great that Magic Breakfast offers a healthy breakfast to hungry schoolchildren in term time. What happens during the school holidays?

This is a question we increasingly hear at Magic Breakfast, and the sad answer is that many children probably don't have as much food, or as much nutrition during the school holidays.  According to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger, 3 million children in the UK are at risk of hunger during the school summer holidays.  At Magic Breakfast we are all too aware that every day many children arrive at school too hungry to learn and the problem certainly doesn’t go away when term ends. The summer holidays can be a huge challenge for disadvantaged families placing them under acute financial stress, exacerbated by the absence of free school food and additional childcare costs.

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. Many children in high density housing don’t get to play outside either so don’t get the exercise they need. Summer learning loss affects many children but is far worse when children are undernourished - and so we welcome the DfE pilot investment.

Families Food and Fun

This summer Magic Breakfast, together with Family Action and Brakes Meals & More, is supporting a pilot project funded by the Department for Education (DfE) called Families, Food and Fun (FFF) to help vulnerable and low-income families. The programme offers children and their parents free healthy food during the school holidays, along with activities such as food preparation, cooking, budgeting, music, drama and exercise. There are also educational trips in the local community and signposting to local support services.  We are delighted to be involved in this important project.


Since 2009 Magic Breakfast has been running a school holiday food project called Magic Breakfast 365, simply because we believe every child, regardless of family circumstances, will be better off if they enjoy a healthy breakfast every single day, at home and at school. Magic Breakfast 365 has been piloted in London and Yorkshire Magic Breakfast schools, supported by Asda and then Tesco. The programme is currently helping schools in Tower Hamlets, East London where children can come to school in the holidays and enjoy a healthy breakfast, play and learn some cookery skills. They are then able to take home what they have made for their family to enjoy later in the day. The scheme is funded by our supporter Morgan Stanley as part of their Healthy Cities initiative. In addition the London Borough of Tower Hamlets have kindly stepped in to help more schools in the area.  Similarly, Morgan Stanley funds a holiday food and play project with Magic Breakfast and PEEK (Possibilities for Each and Every Kid) in the Sighthill area of Glasgow, with the aim of creating memorable holidays for the Sighthill children whilst teaching nutrition and offering a safe place to play. Our sincere thanks to Morgan Stanley and the London Borough of Tower Hamlets for their support.

Carmel McConnell MBE, founder of Magic Breakfast: “Too many children dread the approach of the school holidays knowing they won’t get enough to eat or have the opportunity to get out and take part in fun, safe activities. Families, Food and Fun and MagicBreakfast365 both aim to take away this very real stress for many families this summer and help hundreds of children return to school in September well-nourished, ready to learn and with happy holiday memories”.