Rebecca Scott

Rebecca Scott, vice president, Operations at Morgan Stanley in Glasgow on how volunteers from Morgan Stanley contribute to the Healthy Glasgow project in Sighthill and how the pandemic has forced a change of approach, to ensure the local community is supported.

Healthy Glasgow is part of the Morgan Stanley Healthy Cities programme, an initiative designed originally to bring together the fundamentals children need for a healthy start. In Glasgow, it focuses on giving back to the local community, specifically St Stephens's and St Kevin's primary schools in Sighthill, north east of the city centre.

Morgan Stanley partners with two charities, Magic Breakfast and PEEK (Possibilities for Each and Every Kid), to help build knowledge and awareness of a healthy lifestyle and healthy eating. This includes delivering an in-school Holiday Club which provides play sessions, a nutritious breakfast for children throughout each holiday period and cookery classes for parents and children which include a healthy lunch and learning vital skills.

Rebecca Scott Blog

Since its launch in 2017, the programme has delivered over 56,000 healthy meals, 23,000 hours of play, 100 cookery classes and more than 800 Morgan Stanley volunteer hours. Through this collaborative work, the team has identified other opportunities for Morgan Stanley to build on the existing charity partnership and fund additional initiatives.

This includes donations for a children's winter clothing collection, the Reading Partners programme, in which Morgan Stanley volunteers help children learn to read and an ad-hoc office donation to ensure children were able to go on a school trip to Belfast.

Funding from Morgan Stanley has also enabled expansion of the focus on nutrition, including the addition of bagel breakfasts in school, provided by Magic Breakfast, as well as PEEK's nutrition guidance sessions for parents and children.

Sighthill is the focus of a major regeneration project led by Glasgow City Council which plans to build 1,000 new homes, shops and a pedestrian bridge allowing easy access to Glasgow city centre. A new school campus opened in November 2019, to provide state-of-the-art facilities to its children and staff; the impact of which will undoubtedly be profound. The Morgan Stanley Healthy Glasgow team was fortunate enough to attend the school opening and share the joy on the day with the children, staff and charity partners.

Looking ahead to future plans for Healthy Glasgow, the devastating impact of COVID-19 has meant an urgent change of tack required in 2020, to ensure that vulnerable children and families can continue to be supported, whilst respecting government guidelines and protecting personal safety.

The pandemic has accentuated concerns about food insecurity  and the demand for healthy food has become the communities' most fundamental ask. Schools and charities have turned to PEEK to provide help, with a consequent pivot to the way they work.

So far, PEEK has provided over 220,000 meals, as well as dry and fresh food, to children, young people and families across Glasgow, distributed 140 individual grants to vulnerable children and young people, delivered over 300 arts & crafts and 'play at home' packs and over 350 health & wellbeing packs to children, young people and families.

They are working to deliver much needed food and craft and wellbeing packs to families identified by St Stephen's and St Kevin's. The incredible efforts have been recognised nationally with Prince William recently thanking the team at PEEK virtually.

Magic Breakfast quickly repurposed its school-based breakfast provision model in response to lockdown and school closures to ensure children who would usually have access to a nutritious breakfast at school could still receive this food at home.  While schools were closed to most pupils, Magic Breakfast delivered food for breakfast packs to schools, local hubs nominated by its partner schools, or to the doorsteps of pupils' homes.  Over 717 children in Glasgow received fortnightly Magic Breakfast packs during lockdown and the recent school holidays, with up to 2209 children benefitting from this continuity of breakfast provision in Scotland as a whole.

The remainder of 2020 remains uncertain; however, Morgan Stanley's collaboration continues to be as strong as ever.

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