MSP Joan McAlpine has praised Dumfries and Galloway College after a visit to their breakfast club.
Vice Principal Andrew Glen decided to establish the club – which is the first of its kind in Scotland - when he noticed that some students reporting to the college’s sick bay feeling light headed and nauseous, hadn’t eaten breakfast.
Commenting, Ms McAlpine said:
“The Breakfast club is a really inclusive and sociable initiative. There’s something for everyone - whether students are buying a bacon roll, or going along for a breakfast free of charge.
“The project may not have been possible without The Holywood Trust, who have provided a grant - and the college’s own caterers, who are also playing a significant role – so huge plaudits to them.
“We know that students face financial pressures. It could be that a student has no money for a couple of days, or that they are facing a more serious ongoing problem.
“One problem that was raised with me after the visit was that young people on a bursary are receiving less housing benefit – and I will be following this up with the Department for Work and Pensions.
Ms McAlpine added:
“The Scottish Government is supporting young people from low-income households into further education by extending the Educational Maintenance Allowance to some college students -and raising the household income threshold for EMA by over £4,000.
“However, it’s encouraging that Dumfries and Galloway College staff are taking further action to help students with this initiative.
“Many students at the college are completing physically demanding Modern Apprenticeships – and they certainly need their daily allowance of calories.
“Since the Breakfast Club was established staff at the College have reported a dramatic decrease in the number of students reporting to the sick bay – and it is hoped that another knock on effect of the club will be an improvement in retention rates.
“It was a privilege to be the first person invited to come and visit the Breakfast club. Dumfries and Galloway College are ahead of the curve with this initiative, I will be putting down a motion in Parliament congratulating them, and look forward to seeing more positive outcomes for students as a result of the Breakfast Club.”