United Co-op has joined forces with a local council to give schoolchildren free, healthy breakfasts to raise awareness of nutritional issues.

A Breakfast Club has been launched this week at Nutgrove Primary School at St Helens, Merseyside. Pupils at the school will be offered a healthy breakfast between 7.45am-8.45am every day until the end of term. The food, including fresh fruit, breakfast cereals, Fairtrade fruit juice and wholemeal toast, will be provided free by United’s nearby Elephant Lane store.

The school is in a deprived area and has been trying to set up a similar scheme for some time but could not secure sufficient funding. As well as providing the food, United Co-op has made a contribution to cover equipment and will be providing staff to help serve.

Leaflets about the scheme and the benefits of good nutrition have been produced for parents, and posters have been placed around the school. A range of cartoon characters, such as Amy Apple, have been created to encourage children to eat more healthily.

Headmaster Ian Rimmer said: “Healthy eating helps stimulate a child, and breakfast provides a good start to the day. We are looking forward to seeing what effect the scheme has on attendance, social skills and the behaviour of pupils.”

United is hoping to expand the scheme to cover 10 more schools.