Hundreds of school children in the borough are set to benefit from a free breakfast thanks to Bolton Council funding.

Around £200,000 will be spent on either starting up or expanding breakfast clubs in Bolton primary schools.

The money will be distributed as part of a scheme to ensure children are getting a nutritious start to the day.

So far, 27 primary schools have had their applications for funding approved and grants allocated will range from £2,500 to develop an existing breakfast club in school, to £20,000 to expand, provide appropriate equipment and cover staffing costs to launch a new club in some schools.

The proposal to help schools provide a free breakfast to all pupils was approved by Bolton Council’s Cabinet in February last year, and the funding amounts were approved by the Deputy Leader, Cllr Linda Thomas at her Executive Cabinet Member meeting on Monday, November 7.

Some schools had submitted applications for as little as £1,000 but Cllr Thomas determined that the minimum each applicant should receive was £2,500.

Cllr Thomas said: “A survey of young people in the borough revealed that almost 20 per cent of pupils were starting the school day having had nothing to eat or drink. So, earlier this year we committed some funding to enable primary schools to set up or expand a breakfast club so that their pupils could benefit from a free breakfast each day they were at school.

“Having a healthy breakfast is important but can often be missed out of a busy family’s schedule. This scheme will mean that hundreds of school children are guaranteed a nutritious and free breakfast on arrival at school, to set them up for the day ahead. We will be writing to schools again to ensure that every school that wishes to take advantage of the scheme can do so.”

Holy Infant and St Anthony RC Primary School, in Astley Bridge, is one of the schools intending to set up a new breakfast club for its pupils.

Headteacher Helen McGrath said: “Holy Infant and St Anthony R C Primary School are delighted and thrilled to benefit from the new breakfast provision funding offered by Bolton Council.

“We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day – especially for very young children who may not have eaten since their evening meal.  This funding will make a real difference to some very deserving children and families in the Astley Bridge area.  This healthy breakfast will ensure that they are ready to learn as soon as the bell rings.

“We also foresee an improvement in attendance and punctuality as a result of this initiative.”

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