AN AMBITIOUS headteacher is determined to tackle community poverty over fears some local students had been going hungry.

Since joining Muirkirk Primary last March Anne Mclean, 44, became worried some of the pupils were coming to and going home without any food and was desperate to help.

Now she has set up several innovative projects that make sure ‘kids always have something in their tummy’s’.

When you first think of a breakfast club your mind might go back to John Hughes 1985 cult classic movie, but now Muirkirk Primary have given it a whole new meaning.

After securing a grant from Cash for Kids she was able to make sure every single child could be offered a breakfast everyday.

She also set up a supper club so pupils can be offered a snack at the end of the day before they go home so they at least have something in their system overnight.

Anne said: “I became concerned about some students and if they and their families had enough to eat or were struggling.

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“I wanted the school to do more for the community and really help people out.

“We started packing up all leftovers from lunchtime with things like steak pie, soup, burgers, or anything like that so the children could take them home.

“On top of that our supper club also offers some snacks for kids at the end of the day.

“At first I had to rely on school funds but after Easter I managed to secure a grant from Cash for Kids which lets me buy food for the club.

“It’s about £50 which doesn’t go really far but lets me provide what I can for the kids.

“There's stuff like sandwiches, rolls, fresh fruit, breakfast bars, and a whole host of things just to make sure there's something for everyone.

“Our Breakfast club also serves cereal, fresh fruit, toast, hot chocolate milk, and other food to make sure they have a good start to the day.

“We even run special days like scottish week and french week so the kids can try new foods they might not get to at home.”

But she didn’t stop there, the dedicated principle then realised the problem had to be extended to the community as she worried some local families could be struggling too.

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She joined forces with yipworld to offer a boost for residents by setting up a stall every Thursday that is filled with food for parents and guardians of the children.

Anne Added: “We are are linked up with yipworld in Cumnock who have a Stronger Connection group that is run out of our community wing every Thursday.
“We have a stall out on the playground so parents can help themselves to any messages out on the table.

“Things like spaghetti, gammon joints, beans, crisps, and fruit are usually there and at christmas time we almost had a full festive meal.

“Parents can come and help themselves all they have to do is give a small donation of whatever they can afford which will save them a lot of money compared to buying the items at a supermarket.”

“At first it wasn’t very busy but now it's caught on the stuff goes really quickly, we can also tap into it for our supper club.”

It’s not just food clubs that Muirkirk Primary are boosting, they are also making sure no clothes don’t go to waste either.

Every Thursday they host a me2u project that sees parents bring in old clothes that are in reasonably good condition that others pick up.

Since introducing these clubs and organisations Anne has noticed a massive difference in the children who are now more alert and ready to learn in class.

But she isn’t taking all the credit and has hailed all staff at the primary school for pulling off the inspiring team effort.

Anne said: “We have find its made a massive change and been brilliant for engagement in the children.

“What I feel especially is that after having breakfast in the morning the kids feel so much better for getting something in their stomach meaning they come into class much more awake.

“They are ready to learn and focus which means they give you attention because they aren’t sitting with rumbling tummy’s waiting for the lesson to be over.

“It’s really nice because the whole school and staff are on board with it.

“My classroom assistants and janitor help set up the supper club everyday it really gets everyone involved.

“We all have the same culture and want to the best for the kids, all our values are the same.

“The kids like it as well because its a wee social event for them they get to pick away at some snacks and chat with staff and their classmates before making their way out.

“It’s gives everyone a real sense of community.

“We don’t target poorer families or children either anyone can use the clubs and projects.

“It is a real team effort and I’m so proud of my school for pulling it together, i’m glad we can make that wee difference.”