Feeding Derbyshire's Children: Creswell Breakfast Club

One of the great things about going to school is that you get fed!

And whilst not every child relishes the thought of having a school dinner, at least those that do don’t go hungry.

But what happens during the school holidays? If parents are struggling to make ends meet there is a real possibility that some children can start the new term malnourished.

Breakfast and lunch clubs during school holidays have proved to be part of the solution for some areas.

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Bob Glassy helps prepare sandwiches for the children's lunch bags

Bob Glassy runs Creswell Breakfast Club in North East Derbyshire Deanery. Based at St Mary Magdalene Church in the village, the club is now in its fourth year.

“When the schools break up, we start work, says Bob. “The children who come here get a breakfast – cereal or porridge – and unlimited toast. They also get a lunch bag to take away - a sandwich, drink, piece of fruit and a cereal bar.”

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The club also provides toys and activities, such as crafts they can enjoy while the club is open and charges 50p per child per day. Occasionally they show films.

Bob is keen to point out that all children are welcome to use the club – it’s not just for those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Most of the children – and there can be as many as 40 there in a day – come from within the benefice of Elmton with Creswell and Whitwell with Steetley.

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Children enjoy a range of activities while they are at the club

The club has a team of volunteers who run the club and prepare the food; parents are expected to supervise their children while they are at the club.

Bob says: “Some children enjoy making their own sandwiches for their lunch bag while they are here, so the volunteers help them do that too. Without the volunteers, there wouldn’t be a club!

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Lunchbags ready to go...

Like many breakfast and lunch clubs, much of the food is provided by FareShare, for which Derbyshire County Council pays the subscription fee. And anything left over is distributed to parents to ensure children can be fed and that nothing goes to waste. Local businesses also help out with donations, including Creswell Co-op who provide the club’s milk each day.

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Bob says: “Children who come here go home with a full belly. We’re also building memories for them and some of them in years to come will walk past the church and say: ‘We used to go there – and we were fed.’” 

To find out more, see Creswell Breakfast Club on Facebook.

>> See also: Rural Action Derbyshire

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