Food charity Magic Breakfast marks 20th year by doubling support to schools and trebling reach to hungry children

Children’s food charity Magic Breakfast has, from January 2021, increased its offer of food provision and support to an additional 120,000 hungry children and to more than 500 extra schools, to make a big stride forward in its mission that no child is too hungry to learn.

Magic Breakfast is the UK’s leading charity for breakfast provision. It partners with schools in disadvantaged areas of England and Scotland to provide healthy breakfast food and expert support to ensure that every child at risk of hunger in these schools starts the day with the energy and nutrition they need to learn.

In 2020 Magic Breakfast was supporting 48,000 children across 480 schools in the UK. In a move to further combat child morning hunger, Magic Breakfast has now vastly expanded its reach of children and schools it supports, taking the number of schools it now works with to over 960, and the number of hungry children it now can support each school day to around 167,000.

This increase in schools and pupils has resulted in the charity doubling the number of schools it works with and tripling the number of children it is now reaching, compared to 2020.

Magic Breakfast’s new partner schools are now being supported by the charity due to their funding from the government’s National School Breakfast Programme coming to an end in December 2020. Magic Breakfast has offered its support to over a third of the schools whose funding has now ended, and endeavours to extend its support further to ensure as many children as possible at risk of hunger can receive a free, healthy breakfast every school day.

The charity’s expansion in this year coincides with Magic Breakfast marking 20 years since its Founder, Carmel McConnell MBE, started buying breakfast food from a supermarket for pupils at five schools in Hackney, after hearing from headteachers that the biggest barrier to teaching and learning was hunger. Carmel’s breakfast provision soon yielded results, as the children's concentration, behaviour, punctuality and educational attainment quickly improved due to them no longer being too hungry to learn. This provided the catalyst for Magic Breakfast, and, later, the National School Breakfast Programme.

In Magic Breakfast’s 20th year the charity is more committed than ever to combatting child hunger, and is taking great steps to ensure no child in its partner schools goes hungry during the coronavirus pandemic. This January, as schools have closed nationally once again, Magic Breakfast has committed to Keeping Breakfast Going for children in its partner schools who desperately need it, adapting its delivery model to reach all children at risk of hunger with a healthy start to the day, whether they are at school or at home.

While some vulnerable children will continue to attend and have breakfast at school, Magic Breakfast is supporting those who must stay at home by offering schools the option of take-home packs of breakfast food, or packs of food delivered directly to their homes thanks to the help of Magic Breakfast’s delivery partner Amazon. Whether they have bagels, beans, cereals or porridge, children will be able to start their day with the energy and nutrition they need to learn.

Rachael Anderson, Head of Schools at Magic Breakfast said:

“We are delighted to have welcomed more than 500 additional schools to the Magic Breakfast family, which is now in its 20th year. This means we can now work with these schools to offer breakfast to an additional 120,000 children at risk of hunger – three times the number of children we were reaching in 2020. These children will be able to start the day with the energy and nutrition they need to make the most of their education.

“This will no doubt be another challenging year. We know that Covid-19 has exacerbated food insecurity; many of our partner schools have reported notable increases in hunger and disadvantage in their communities, which is why it is vital that we reach as many children as we can with a healthy breakfast. With over 2 million children at risk of hunger in the UK, and the pandemic worsening, we are deeply concerned for the growing number of children who start each day without the confidence they will get the food they need.

“Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, and the determination of amazing school staff, we were able to keep breakfast going during the first nationwide lockdown, and, once again, we simply couldn’t sit by and watch children go hungry because they weren’t able to have their school breakfast. With schools closed to most pupils once again, we are proud to continue to offer healthy breakfast food to children via our partner schools or delivered to their homes. There will be many challenges in the coming months, but we hope that breakfast packs families receive will help alleviate some of the struggles they are facing, and that they will help provide essential fuel for learning, whether children are at school or at home.”

Andy Creed, School Business Manager at Gatten & Lake Primary, a new Magic Breakfast partner school in Shanklin, Isle of Wight, says:

“The support of Magic Breakfast has made such a massive difference to pupils and families at Gatten & Lake Primary School. Our worry about children starting the day hungry is greatly reduced and the breakfast packs of fresh bagels and cereal during the difficult, challenging periods of lockdown are gratefully received by our families, where every penny really does count.

“In school, attendance has improved as children look forward to starting the day promptly with a bagel in the classroom, leaving them well prepared and ready to start a busy day of learning. The difference Magic Breakfast has made for our school community has been phenomenal!”


About Magic Breakfast 

Magic Breakfast is a registered charity providing healthy breakfasts to children in the UK who arrive at school too hungry to learn, and expert support to their schools. The charity now works with over 960 Primary, Secondary, ASL/Special Educational Needs Schools and Pupil Referral Units in disadvantaged areas of England and Scotland, helping to reach around 167,000 children to ensure they start their school day with the energy and nutrition they need to be able to make the most of their morning lessons.