Amid growing concern about the numbers of children in Scotland at risk of being obese and overweight, local retailers are playing their part in working directly with local schools to promote and encourage healthy eating.
Retailers Dennis and Linda Williams (pictured) of the Broadway Premier convenience store in the Oxgangs area of Edinburgh have a long track record of supporting their community, including ensuring that proceeds from carrier bag charging go to the local Sure Start Project. Dennis and Linda, whose shop has been at the heart of the community for over 30 years, are passionate about supporting local schools and on 15th March held their Big Breakfast event at Oxgangs primary school to ensure that every one of the 400 pupils receives a healthy breakfast. The event also highlighted how important breakfast clubs are to both children and parents.
Breakfast clubs allow parents who work to drop their children off at school early, for them to be able to get to work on time or allow them to participate in further education or training. They are also an important way of ensuring that children living in low income households get a proper breakfast, which research has shown, isn’t always the case. This is especially important in the era of welfare reform, stagnating incomes and the increasing reliance of families on foodbanks. It is well known that children who do not eat a proper breakfast perform more poorly in school as hunger often leaves them unable to concentrate on their schoolwork and they suffer from low energy.
Dennis and Linda also launched their ‘Fruit Club’ initiative which will encourage children to buy fruit with a loyalty card, which then gives them free fruit every ‘Free-day Friday’ in the store.
Dennis Williams commented: “We have always believed that there are two things at the heart of every community: the local shop and the local primary school. We are passionate about supporting our schools, our children and parents. Giving children a healthy breakfast is the best way to make sure they get the right start to the school day. Breakfast clubs are the ideal way to do this and we will continue to do everything we can to support breakfast clubs at Oxgangs primary and all the schools in our area”.
The Big Breakfast event is also being supported by the Scottish government-funded SGF Healthy Living Programme. The Scottish Local Shop Report, published by the Scottish Grocers Federation, shows that, in 2015, 87% of convenience store retailers in Scotland were involved in community engagement activities.
Maureen Watt MSP, Scottish Government Minister for Public Health, has indicated her strong support for the event.
“As they launch the big breakfast event and will shortly launch their fruit club, I would like to pass on my sincere thanks and admiration to Dennis and Linda for the work they are doing to further encourage children and young people to make good food choices,” she said. “I am sure the work they are doing on both initiatives will be a great success and I have no doubt that the work they are doing will have a positive effect on the children in their local area.”