Breakfast club programme launched in Dublin

Pictured at the launch is Minster for Social Protection Joan Burton, with Beth Donohoe and Michael Matswen (7) from St. Catherine's School
Pictured at the launch is Minster for Social Protection Joan Burton, with Beth Donohoe and Michael Matswen (7) from St. Catherine's School

Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, launches 'Breakfast club' pilot programme in Dublin to help give children a positive start to schooldays



24 June 2013

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The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, attended at St Catherine’s Infant National School, in Cabra today, to launch a Breakfast club pilot programme which has been developed by Healthy Food for All and funded by the Kellogg Corporate Citizenship Fund.

The pilot programme which started in January in four Dublin Schools – St Catherine’s Junior National School Cabra, St Eithne’s Girls School, Edenmore, Holy Trinity National School Donaghmede and Holywell Educate Together, Swords – aims to measure the impact a breakfast club will have on the social and academic environment in these schools.

Worryingly, 13% of schoolchildren in Ireland report that they never eat breakfast on weekdays with a marked increase seen in those from lower socio-economic groups, girls and older children*. Initial feedback from teachers suggests that children who attend breakfast clubs are highly attentive and are better prepared for the school day.

Commenting on the initiative, Sinéad Keenan, project co-ordinator, Healthy Food for All, said: "The purpose of the pilot programme is to promote a positive start to school days. Breakfast clubs are excellent initiatives both from a nutritional and a social point of view. The lessons learned from this programme will be extracted to build the evidence for breakfast clubs in Ireland. HFfA will evaluate the outputs from this programme to demonstrate how clubs can be set up in both DEIS and non-DEIS schools."

Managing director, Kellogg Company of Ireland, Jim McNeill, added: "Kellogg’s has a strong track record in supporting families and communities in Ireland. Through our ‘Breakfast for Better Days’ initiative, we are supporting food banks and breakfast clubs in Ireland and globally to ensure more people get a great start to their day."

Many breakfast clubs operating in schools and community settings are funded through the School Meals Programme which is a vital resource for schools addressing food poverty among school-children. The schools involved in the current pilot programme were awarded grants of €5,000 to set up and run a breakfast club over a period of 18 months. Healthy Food for All has also provided the schools with training and logistic support during the period.

Commenting on the programme, Sinéad Keenan, project co-ordinator, HFfA, added: "This is an example of co-operation between the public, profit and non-profit sector. This partnership between Healthy Food for All and Kellogg’s adds value to the government funded School Meals Programme. We are delighted to be partnering with Kellogg’s, as part of their corporate social responsibility agenda, to support the work that is being done by so many volunteers and teachers to ensure that children are getting the right start to their day."

The Kellogg Company employs over 250 people in North Dublin, at its Irish business in Santry and at its European headquarters in Swords. "Many of our employees live, work and send their children to schools in North County Dublin so we feel this is the right place to launch this programme and to measure its impact. We know that many schools have funding challenges at present and we hope that this initiative and others which we will announce in the future, will help to support breakfast clubs in Ireland," added McNeill.

*(Source: Kelly, C., Gavin, A., Molcho, M. & Nic Gabhainn, S. (2012). The Irish Health Behaviours in School-aged Children (HBSC) study 2010) 



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