The positive link between breakfast clubs and school attendance
“When we started the Breakfast Club we had juice, bread and jam. Now we can give our children a full continental breakfast and a proper start to the day! The good food we receive means that the Breakfast Club is very popular- about half the school comes, which has had a big impact on our attendance levels at school. 3 years ago we had 100 pupils on our persistent absence list. Now, we only have about 14. Because of encouraging them to Breakfast Club, our attendance has increased.” Julie Vincent, Millpond School Breakfast Club coordinator
“Before, we had children arriving hungry, or with no proper lunch. One child last week arrived with two pieces of white bread for his lunch with no filling. I know a lot of us school staff here were helping out, buying food for struggling parents. With FareShare food things have totally changed around. The kids are trying new foods, you can see the difference in lessons, and we can now feed around 60 pupils a good breakfast, snack and after school club every day of the school year. There’s nothing else around here that fills that gap. I can’t tell you how much of a difference it’s made.” School of Christ the King Primary School, Hartcliffe
FareShare South West’s Breakfast Club Programme started up in 2018, getting quality, varied and exciting surplus foods to priority schools in areas of high deprivation, where we know children are arriving to school without having a proper breakfast. As many as one in four children in Bristol are at risk of experiencing hunger. When we first asked schools how we could help them, the responses came in fast. As well as food for Breakfast Club, schools asked for food for After School Club, snacks and emergency food parcels for particularly vulnerable families. As there is currently no state provision for extra-curricular food provision, all too often schools were providing these services on stretched budgets. In many cases staff were telling us they regularly bought food for families out of their own pockets.
Since starting the Breakfast Club Programme, they have been able to expand the programme to support as many as 60 schools across the South West, with the majority in Bristol. The impact on a school is huge, and goes way beyond just filling bellies. By providing abundant quantities of quality surplus food, many schools can offer an entirely free breakfast, and some even invite parents and grandparents to join in too! Where a school might have previously offered toast and cereal, we can send them exotic fruits, luxury yoghurts, and a different type of bread each week! It’s brilliant to hear feedback from schools about how excited the children are about trying new foods.
Support FareShare South West by exploring the Cumberland Basin Route on Bristol Giving Day.