Baking a difference for Swanage school breakfast club

A breakfast club for a school in Swanage has just received a healthy donation thanks to a fancy dress fundraising scheme cooked up by the bakery chain Greggs.

St Mark’s School in Swanage has been able to provide a free breakfast for any schoolchild who wants one for the past five years, thanks to the Greggs Breakfast Club scheme.

St Mark's school

St Mark’s Primary School, Swanage, is able to start every school day with a breakfast for any pupil who wants one

Positive penny challenge

During the first week in May 2024, the Greggs branch in Station Road, Swanage, asked customers to donate towards the scheme which they eventually hope to extend to another school in Purbeck.

And with an extra boost from the children at St Mark’s themselves, who collected coppers for an in school Positive Penny challenge, almost £500 was raised to keep topping up the breakfast plates.

Pupils from every class were asked to fill a jar with as many 1p and 2p pieces as they could – with the incentive of a movie afternoon for the class which raised the most!

Fruit juice, milk, cereal, yoghurt, toast and fruit could all be on the menu at St Mark’s, funded in full by Greggs but chosen, prepared and served up by staff at the school.

And the high street bakery also donates bread and fruit to the school, while also making sure that much of its unsold food at the end of each day goes to help wider charities through food banks.


St Mark’s breakfast club organiser Al Stephens presented £132.07 from their Positive Penny challenge to the Greggs Foundation

“It is part of the school role now”

Senior teacher Al Stephens said:

“We provide a healthy breakfast to those who haven’t had one, or to those who want a little bit more, and it also acts as a nice transition into the school day for those children who might be a little bit anxious. It’s also handy if parents want to get into work a little bit earlier.

“It’s open to all and it’s totally free – we will serve about 60 children a day, though definitely more if it’s raining!

“Additionally there are funds for every child to have a piece of toast and fruit at break time, with Greggs providing the bread, then everyone has a packed lunch or a hot meal in the middle of the day and a piece of fruit in the afternoon.

“With so many families struggling with the cost of living, we know that when children are in school there is plenty of food on offer. We feel that is part of the school role now and Greggs have helped us to do that, it’s a great service.”


St Mark’s amazing Forest School had its start up costs covered by Greggs

Greggs also funded Forest School

Al Stephens added:

“Greggs also have an environmental fund and fully funded the creation of the wonderful Forest School that we have here, they do a lot of really good things for the community.

“We now run and fund the forest school ourselves, but the set up costs of £5,000 were fully funded by Greggs and it would have been much more difficult to set the whole thing up without them.

“All the school has access to the forest school through the year and the National Trust is now working with us to develop a family club there.

“It is an inspirational opportunity for all of our pupils to develop confidence and self esteem through hands-on learning experiences outdoors and teaches about the natural environment in a fun and safe way.

“Our Forest School sessions run throughout the year whatever the weather and support and enrich the National Curriculum – and also promote our school values of ‘love, trust, respect and inspire’.”

Swanage Greggs branch manager Emma Tabor (right) with colleague Courtney Carr, raising funds for St Mark’s

“More important than ever to help”

Manager of Swanage Greggs, Emma Tabor said:

“Greggs has been supporting breakfast clubs for the past 25 years since 1999, to make sure that thousands of children can have a healthy start to the day.

“As a company, we deliver a free meal on every school day to more than 62,000 children nationally across nearly 900 Breakfast Clubs.

“In Swanage we support St Mark’s School and we would like to be able to take it further – we do have a waiting list of schools that want to join in, so public fundraising events like this fancy dress week are so important to get local support.

“We asked customers to donate in store and set a target of £500 – and by the end of the week we were just seven pounds short of that.”

“Rising costs of living mean it is more important than ever to help our local communities and we are very proud of what we achieved with the help of our wonderful customers!”

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