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Foodservice Cateys 2015: Healthy Eating Champion

23 October 2015
Foodservice Cateys 2015: Healthy Eating Champion

Sponsored by Mars Foodservice UK

KIMBERLEY APLIN, SODEXO

Kimberley Aplin has worked as a foodservice assistant at Birmingham Children's Hospital since 2009 and she is well known for her enthusiasm and passion for the role. Sodexo is responsible for a restaurant for staff and visitors at the hospital, as well as three smaller café units, hospitality and patient dining.

In addition to her day-to-day duties, Aplin's role is to engage with as many customers as she can to raise awareness of the healthy choices available within Sodexo's catering units, and also to raise awareness about conditions such as diabetes, the importance of five a day, and regulating salt intake.

To do this, Aplin comes up with unusual and inventive approaches that are designed to excite and engage, and has impressed client employees, patient families and members of the public in the process.

Her initiatives include the creation last year of a health-promotion calendar, each month promoting a different aspect of healthy eating. She also created a board game using toothbrushes to create lanes, while each player had a pair of wind-up false teeth. It really engaged young patients and their families.

One of her most recent initiatives was Slim for Summer. She had buckets and spades containing fruit which people had to guess the weight of, and fruit samples on offer alongside a promotion of the local health trust's diet club.

Aplin volunteers for the hospital radio station where she works the odd shift over the airwaves, using it as another channel to communicate healthy eating messages.

Most of these promotions are organised in her own time, and for a diabetes awareness promotion she used her annual leave to give the initiative her undivided attention.

Speaking about her colleague, Virginia O'Gorman, Sodexo retail operations manager, said: "Kim is a true ambassador of Sodexo's values, working hard to deliver excellent service in the restaurant, but always making time to educate children and their families on the importance of healthy eating. She is enthusiastic, engaging and popular with families, Sodexo and client colleagues, and young patients."

What the judges said

"This individual really championed healthy eating and awareness. She understands the importance of engaging with relevant stakeholders at the trust to ensure the right messages are communicated. Her day-to-day role is a foodservice assistant. However, she always comes up with unusual and inventive approaches to Sodexo's healthy choices. It's a breath of fresh air to see someone promoting healthy eating."

Katie Howard, Compass Group

"Kimberley shows an amazing amount of dedication and passion to the area of healthy eating. Through all of her innovative ideas, approach and volunteering, she definitely cares. We need more people like Kimberley in our industry to maintain a healthy legacy."

Gabriella Roberts, BaxterStorey

"Look in the dictionary under ‘going that extra mile' and it would say Kimberley Aplin. Her knowledge and passion far outstripped her job role. Inspiring."

David Nuttall, Harper Adams University

"A fabulous nomination that shows what can be achieved within our sector regardless of what job title you have. Kimberley deserves this recognition and huge congratulations to her. The future is bright!"

Kate Martin, The Brookwood Partnership

Shortlisted

  • Kimberley Aplin, Sodexo
  • Diana Bright, Bridgwater College

Past winners

  • 2014 Kate Martin, The Brookwood Partnership
  • 2013 Caroline Fry, CH&Co

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