Gentoo and Greggs help ensure Sunderland school children get their day started with a free nutritious breakfast

Hundreds of pupils at Farringdon Academy are starting their day with a free nutritious meal thanks to the launch of a breakfast club in partnership with Gentoo and the Greggs Foundation.

The school’s 300 children are now able to enjoy both hot and cold healthy options including toast, low sugar cereal, fruit, yoghurt, juice and milk.

A key aim of the initiative was also to encourage pupils to socialise with each other and engage with staff, “giving them the best start to the day”.

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Funding for the meals has been provided by Sunderland-based housing association, Gentoo, with Greggs also helping to provide the school with the grab and go breakfast trolleys.

Headteacher Claire McDermott said: “We are so grateful to Gentoo and the Greggs Foundation for their support. We have wanted to create a breakfast club like this for a while and this new partnership is going to make such a difference to our pupils.

"We have already seen an improvement in punctuality and productivity thanks to the breakfast meal on offer. It’s also a great opportunity for the pupils to socialise before starting their school day. On behalf of everyone at the school, I would like to say a huge thank you.”

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Gentoo have been providing support to school breakfast clubs across the city for a decade and Chief Executive Officer Nigel Wilson is “delighted” with the new partnership.

(left to right) Farringdon Academy headteacher Claire McDermott, Susie Thompson from Gentoo, Karen Eadington representing the Greggs Foundation, and Nigel Wilson, also from Gentoo, alongside Farringdon Academy pupils at the school's breakfast club. Photograph: Gentoo

He said: “We know we have a large number of tenants living in the area whose children attend the school and we are pleased to support them through the new breakfast club.

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“We have supported this programme for almost 10 years now, and it is so important for school children to start their school day with a full stomach. A healthy breakfast gives children the best possible start to their day and the chance to fulfil their potential in school. We are delighted to be making such a difference to their lives.”

Lynne Hindmarch, Breakfast Club Manager for the Greggs Foundation, added: “No child should ever start their day without breakfast, which is why we’re delighted to be opening a new breakfast club at Farringdon Academy, thanks to the extremely generous support and funding of Gentoo.

“Through clubs such as this, we’re able to support over 45,000 children each school day nationally, and new openings like the one at Farringdon Academy are helping us to continue heading towards reaching our target of serving 70,000 breakfasts each school day by 2025.”

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Last year (2021) the Greggs Foundation provided over 8.5 million free breakfasts, thanks to sponsors across the nation, including the Gentoo Group.

To help fund the free breakfast and support the programme, customers at Greggs can donate 25p when making a purchase in store to help a child in need.

Thanks to the partnership with Greggs and Gentoo, staff at Farringdon Academy were also able to offer festive food hampers to pupils and families at Christmas – something which the school said “was greatly received”.

This week has also seen St Aidan’s Catholic Academy in Sunderland benefit from a £1,000 donation from Kellogg’s to support the school’s breakfast club.

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