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Charity founder wants to end child hunger in Hackney

PUBLISHED: 12:00 12 January 2016

Carmel McConnell who was awarded an MBE in the New Year honours list

Carmel McConnell who was awarded an MBE in the New Year honours list

Archant

After starting the task of ending child hunger in Hackney, one charity founder now wants to finish the job in the borough.

Carmel McConnell MBE was recognised for her charity work in the New Year honours list.

Magic Breakfast which was set up in 2000 provides free healthy breakfasts for 23,500 children across the country.

It was while the charity founder was researching for a book that she was told by headteachers in Hackney they brought food into work to feed those who were too hungry to learn.

She said: “I was staggered by what I heard; I thought how could this be possible.

“I was living and working in London at the time and did not think that level of poverty existed in our capital city.”

It led to Ms McConnell returning to the schools with bread, tea and a few other bits and pieces and was told what a difference it had made by teachers.

Today the Magic Breakfast charity provides breakfasts for 480 schools at a cost of 22p per breakfast.

Breakfasts consist of cereal, porridge, bagels, fruit and juice.

Ms McConnell added: “The most important lessons like Maths and English are taught in the morning and children cannot concentrate if they have nothing in them.

“It just means life is going to be tough for them, I want to give every child the best chance of having a healthy and successful life.”

The goal for Magic Breakfast is to end breakfast hunger in the UK by 2020.

The charity founder has even bigger goals too and hopes to continue using corporate partnerships with Tropicana, Bagel Nash, Tesco and Quaker Oats and end world hunger by 2040.

Ms McConnell thinks it would be brilliant to end child hunger in Hackney after the charity started here.

She said: “It would be amazing to say there is no more hunger in the classrooms of Hackney.

“I would like to try call upon entrepreneurs and leading people in business to help us achieve that.

“While we feed 23,500 children every morning, child hunger is still a big problem with half a million children still arriving to school hungry, there is more work to be done.

While Ms McConnell is very proud of being awarded an MBE, she is quick to thank other members of the team.

She said: “I am very pleased to receive the MBE and it is a great recognition for the work Magic Breakfast has done.

“But it is a reward for the whole team and the incredible work they do.”

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