Pupils at St Matthew’s CE Primary School have become young market traders as part of a project they hope will reduce food waste as well as help local families.
‘Fuel for School’ is a ground-breaking initiative using food destined for landfill to feed its pupils and nourish its community.
An empty stomach is widely understood to negatively affect to a child’s academic performance, impacting concentration and energy levels. It has been said that children who eat breakfast are more likely to have higher school grades than those who do not.
The school, in the Little Horton is taking part in the project for a whole school year to make an impact on the pupils’ education, further increase engagement with families and sell food on a pay-as-you-feel basis.
It will mean families will be able to buy perfectly good food for a reduced price.
Run by the Real Junk Food Project in Leeds, Fuel for Schools works with supermarkets and local food providers to intercept food reaching its sell-by date before it is thrown out.
Pupils hosted their first market stall last week which took place at the end of the school day. Pupils sold a wide variety of items, from fruit and veg to crisps and juice.
The event was well received by families, and any remaining food will be offered to needy local families.
Funds raised by the school through the markets will be used to buy playtime equipment so the children can stay healthy through active play.
As part of the project, Year 5 pupils sort out the food, help families with their shopping and share information with the local community about food waste.
Kay Remmer, Acting Headteacher, said: “Our Year 5 children are really excited about the Fuel for School project.
“Like other schools involved in the project, we expect one of the outcomes will be a real impact on education.
“In other schools, Fuel for School has shown it can deliver improvement in things like maths and reading, behaviour and attitudes to others.
“Fuel for School will help us reduce the amount of resources thrown away unnecessarily, engage more with families and help the local community by providing food at low cost. At the market stall, families offer an amount of money which they feel is appropriate for the item.”
Adrian Stygall, School Business and Development Officer, said: “The first market went down really well, we sold about four fifths of the food. Any non-perishable food left over will go to the market next week, and other food will go to any local families in difficult circumstances.
“We hope that because of these markets, families facing problems in this difficult economic climate will be able to have a nice meal.”
Although the project will run to the end of the school year, he added: “We expect this project will go on for a long time.”
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