Hungry children in Morecambe ‘stealing apple cores from bins’ headteacher tells BBC Breakfast

A Morecambe headteacher told BBC Breakfast presenters that children at her school are so food deprived that they are stealing apple cores from the bins.

Siobhan Collingwood, headteacher at Morecambe Bay Primary School, was interviewed on BBC Breakfast on January 10, where she told presenters Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty that some children have nothing in their lunchboxes, and become “fixated upon food”.

The shocking revelations come as Morecambe Bay Foodbank reports its busiest year on record, with 7,000 food parcels handed out to families in 2018.

Ms Collingwood told the show that children are too hungry to learn, and that while there was a drop in poverty in the Morecambe area in 2011-12, it has been rising steadily since then.

She said that benefit changes and the introduction of Universal Credit has “put families in crisis”.

Presenter Naga Munchetty said: “It must be heartbreaking to witness?”

Siobhan Collingwood on BBC Breakfast

Siobhan Collingwood on BBC Breakfast

Ms Collingwood, who has previously clashed with Morecambe MP David Morris over the extent of poverty in the Morecambe area, said: “When children have been food deprived, it alters their behaviour, so they become obsessed with food.

“So we have some children who will be stealing fruit cores from the bins, after the children have had some fruit in class.

“We have children who have nothing in their lunch boxes, and children who are just fixated upon food.

“So that will be something that we will speak to parents about, and say ‘why do you think that might be?’.

“We’re the only agency really that opens our doors every day, so families that come through have a very close working relationship with us.

“They’ll come in and they’ll tell us when they’re really in desperate trouble, so even if we’ve not picked up on it from the children, they might come in and tell us themselves.”