YardNine has chosen to support two charities doing some fantastic work. The pandemic has hit some harder than others and with charities missing out on so much of their usual support, they need help more now than ever.

The charities we have supported are Magic Breakfast and Fareshare. 

Hear how both charities are tackling hunger in different ways below.

Magic Breakfast

The issue of child hunger and its impact on educational attainment and wellbeing is more pressing than ever before. Prior to the Covid-19 crisis, 4.1 million children were living in poverty, with as many as 1.8 million school children at risk of starting their day hungry. As we enter the largest UK recession on record, we are deeply concerned by the growing numbers of children starting their day having had nothing to eat.

Morning hunger presents a significant barrier to learning. 80% of teachers report that a hungry child is more likely to be restless, unhappy, lethargic, distracted or disruptive in lessons. By the time children leave secondary school, economically disadvantaged students are 19.3 months behind the average in terms of educational attainment.

“We did have a couple of children who really did cry with the hunger. They didn’t know what was wrong with them. They would say that their tummy was sore. But when you asked them ‘When did you last eat?’ or asked if they’d had anything that morning, you found they hadn’t.”

–   Patricia McGowan, Head of Abercorn Secondary, Glasgow

Magic Breakfast is a pioneer and leading light when it comes to tackling the urgent issue of child morning hunger in the UK. Through our network of 480 Primary, Secondary, ASL/Special Educational Needs schools and Pupil Referral Units, we are currently providing healthy, nutritious breakfasts to over 48,000 vulnerable children each morning. This provision is targeted to reach children most at risk of hunger. For a school to be eligible for our support, at least 35% of pupils should be recognised as eligible for Pupil Premium, with many of our partner schools exceeding 50%.

For over 20 years we have developed a best-practice model that combines food aid with expert support. We know that the hungriest children are often the hardest to reach, which is why we work with each school to identify hunger, remove stigma, and to educate children, parents and carers, and school leaders on the importance of a nutritious breakfast – improving educational outcomes for the most disadvantaged children as well as the whole school community.

During Covid-19 school closures and the summer holidays, pupils at Magic Breakfast schools were able to continue accessing Magic Breakfasts thanks to the charity’s take-home breakfast packs consisting of 10 days’ supply of beans, bagels, cereal, porridge and milk vouchers. Now that schools have reopened, their Magic Breakfast provision has renewed importance.

Independent research, funded by the Education Endowment Foundation and carried out by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, found that Year 2 pupils in schools providing a free, nutritious ‘magic’ breakfast boosted their reading, writing and maths by an average of two months’ progress per year, compared to pupils in schools with no such breakfast provision.

Find out more here Magic Breakfast