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    School breakfast clubs a ‘lifeline’ for working mums

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    New research reveals a third of today’s working British mums would have to give up work if it wasn’t for the support of school breakfast clubs.

    Describing the mornings as ‘tiring’ and ‘stressful’, just a fifth of working mums and dads claimed they found time to enjoy breakfast with their children, with nearly 60% ranking breakfast clubs as ‘very important’ for their family’s survival and routine.

    The Kellogg’s study, ‘The Parent’s Lifeline’, which looks into the role school breakfast clubs play in the lives of working families, showed how stretched parents are also relying on breakfast clubs to provide adequate childcare. More than a quarter (27%) feel the absence of a breakfast club would mean at least one parent would be forced out of work, with mums more likely to bear the burden (33%).

    Interestingly, one in five recognised the cost for alternative morning childcare would mean they would have to tighten their purse strings, with nearly 20% of parents claiming they save more than £50 every week by sending their children to breakfast clubs.

    The survey of more than 2000 working parents showed how it isn’t just ‘squeezed’ families who rely on the clubs. A quarter of top level professionals admitted they needed breakfast clubs to help juggle childcare, with nearly a third of public sector managers and office workers using the clubs as a life line to get to work on time.

    Lifting the lid on the stressful home lives of Britain’s parents, the study showed how the fast-paced modern dynamic leaves more than half failing to provide their children with a weekday breakfast. What’s more, fathers are still relying on mum to organise the kids in the mornings (29%) despite both parents going out to work, with double the amount of mums left ‘stressed’ when attempting to organise breakfast at home.

    Megan Jarvie, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at the Family and Childcare Trust argued breakfast clubs are not just about ensuring children have an adequate meal in the mornings, but also providing busy families with much needed support. She said: “Breakfast clubs are about much more than just cereal and toast in the morning – our research shows that breakfast clubs can help children do better in school and beyond, can help parents commit to their job’s work hours and can provide working families with the support they need to manage a work-life balance in modern Britain.

    “Too many families are struggling to access childcare that meets their needs, but extended school services like breakfast clubs can help fill the gaps when there is not enough out-of-school childcare available. They help boost outcomes for children from all backgrounds and support parents to work.”

    Despite Brits becoming increasingly health focused, working mums and dads are still letting their busy day get the better of them. Many admitted they offered their children bribes to get them out the door on time – with 20% handing out biscuits and 17% opting for chocolate and sweets instead of a healthy breakfast.

    Kellogg’s has been supporting breakfast clubs in schools for 18 years, providing funding, cereal donations and training to a network of 2500 clubs across the UK.

    Dave Lawlor, UK managing Director for Kellogg’s added: “Recent research has shown eating breakfast improves educational attainment. However, it is not just children who benefit; breakfast clubs are also a vital resource to help working parents, saving millions in childcare costs and delivering benefits for employers across the UK. They are a lifeline, particularly for those parents on lower incomes.

    “However, it isn’t just the financial benefits; interestingly, the report showed parents who take advantage of breakfast clubs are, on the whole, more likely to feel happier and calmer, with 59% seeing a boost in wellbeing.”

    To read more, check out The Parent’s Lifeline report at breakfast-club.co.uk, or join the discussion on Twitter @KelloggsUK #ParentsLifeline. Read the original research HERE.

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    Molly Dyson

    Former Editor – PA Life

    All stories by: Molly Dyson