Earlier this year the Scottish Government launched their tackling child poverty delivery plan, Best Start, Bright Futures. At Magic Breakfast, we know that achieving a brighter future is made all the more difficult by arriving at school with an empty stomach. Our new short film, Fuelling A Brighter Future, looks at our work and the impact it has in the communities we work in.
Recorded earlier this year across Edinburgh, the film has been used to share about the work of Magic Breakfast with decision makers from across Scotland. In September, the film was shown to MSPs in the corridors of power at Holyrood. Fuelling A Brighter Future is our first ever production highlighting our approach to delivery and advocacy in Scotland.
We have been delivering nutritious breakfasts in Scotland for almost half a decade. In that time, we have come to understand the barriers that young Scots face to accessing the vital fuel they need to learn. These include families affected by poverty and the stigma of relying on the resources a school offers. We have been successful in supporting almost 4,000 children and young people every school day and working to make lasting change. Our partner schools deliver free breakfasts to ensure all pupils who are in need can be fed before the school day begins. At the same time, we’ve offered support through our engagement partner system to embed breakfast within the school day.
At the national level we have welcomed commitments from the Scottish Government to delivering universal breakfast provision for all Primary and Special school pupils. As children, young people, and their families enter a tough winter we need to see a renewed commitment to turning promises into policies.
As fuel bills bite and food prices soar, it is vital that the Scottish Government implement a comprehensive package to support young Scots. Part of this should be to deliver a barrier and stigma free approach to breakfast in schools. Embedding breakfast provision, alongside universal lunch provision, would be a significant milestone to ensuring that Scotland is one of the best places in the world to grow up.
The Scottish Government have been clear about how tight their fiscal picture is at the moment, a position fully recognised by Magic Breakfast. The Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Autumn Statement did little to alleviate this. We know that investment is needed across the UK to support children and young people, you can read our full statement on our blog.
Next month, the Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP, will publish the Scottish Budget. Even within the constraints laid out in law and exacerbated by the cost-of-living crisis, we urge him to ensure that the Scottish budget makes it possible to lay out a costed and actionable plan for breakfast provision.
Tens, and possibly hundreds, of thousands of children and young people across Scotland went to school hungry this morning. The Scottish Government, and parties across the Scottish Parliament, agree with us that this simply isn’t good enough. A future that’s different is possible, a brighter future, a future that we’ll continue to work to fuel.