Primary school pupils in Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Lewisham receive free breakfasts thanks to new initiative

Breakfast with Boris, Pic: Oliver F. Wright

School pupils in some of London’s poorest areas, including Hackney, Lewisham and Tower Hamlets, are to receive free breakfasts as part of an initiative set up by the Mayor’s Fund for London.

The healthy eating scheme was launched on January 8 and will run in partnership with the charity Magic Breakfast.

According to the Mayor’s Fund, it aims to provide 5,000 school children with bagels, bowls of cereal, porridge and juice in a three-year project costing £650,000.

Louise Griew, head of fundraising and communication for the Mayor’s Fund, said:  “Children who do not have breakfast and cannot eat until lunchtime struggle to learn. We hope to provide them with more nutrients, offering a balanced and healthy breakfast.

“The initial plan is to start with 50 schools in  the poorest boroughs in London, but we plan to expand it over the next year.”

The initiative comes soon after the results of a Food for Thought survey, released by The Children’s Society. Research from the survey warns: “Nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of teachers surveyed have experienced pupils coming into school with no lunch and no means to pay for one.”

Mark Coussins, project manager at Magic Breakfast, said: “We will be working closely with these schools to identify ways in which they can develop self-funded, sustainable breakfast clubs.

“This initiative also provides the opportunity to promote positive messages around the importance of healthy eating to parents.”

Magic Breakfast already supplies food to more than 6,000 students in 200 primary schools.

Statistics released by the charity reveal that more than 70 per cent of head teachers on the scheme have noticed an improvement in students’ behaviour and in relationships between parents and the school.

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