School Meals Matter Campaign

04 February 2010
School Meals Matter Campaign

This week Caterer and Hotelkeeper launches a campaign to gain a commitment from the incoming Government to support the school meals service and continue investment in the wellbeing of the nation's children.

The School Meals Matter campaign, in association with the Local Authority Caterers Association (LACA), is designed to promote the importance of healthy, nutritious school meals and keep school meals provision at the top of the political agenda.

It is widely recognised that healthy food positively influences concentration and behaviour. Encouraging young children to take an interest in food will help contribute to lifelong healthy eating habits and create a new generation of food-lovers and food service professionals.

In the UK at present, one in four children aged four is obese and this figure rises to one in three in 11-year-olds. As obesity rates have soared, so has the number of cases of type 2 diabetes, which is linked to lifestyle. Between 1997 and 2003 there was a 74% increase in new cases of diabetes, costing the National Health Service £1m an hour to treat.

A well-funded school meals service can contribute to a reduction in these alarming figures by encouraging children to engage with food and embrace a healthier lifestyle.

We're calling on the hospitality industry to support our School Meals Matter campaign by lobbying the new Government to continue investing in school meals provision.

Following Jamie Oliver's Jamie's School Dinners campaign, which began in 2005, the Government pledged £280m of transitional funding in the form of the School Lunch Grant, with the aim of increasing school meals take-up by helping to keep the price down.

However, this financial support is scheduled to cease in March 2011. According to Beverley Baker, chair of LACA, many local authorities will struggle to continue offering the same level of service without it, and the worst-case scenario is that school meals could be withdrawn entirely.

Rob Rees, newly appointed chair at the School Food Trust, welcomes anything that keeps the momentum of school food in the public eye. He added: "Caterer is doing a brilliant job in highlighting the importance of the need to retain financial support from the Government for school meals after 2011."

Vince Pearson, chair of TaylorShaw, the main contract caterer involved in the free school meals trial in County Durham, said that anything which helped boost school meals take-up could only be a good thing. "School Meals Matter is a crucial campaign to ensure that our children's futures don't suffer for the sake of a few pounds saved in the short term."

Visit the Local Authority Caterers Association Website here >>

Beverly Baker
Beverly Baker
Beverley Baker , chairman of the Local Authority Caterers Association (LACA), says we must safeguard the school meals service

"LACA is delighted to have the support of Caterer and Hotelkeeper for this high-profile campaign to draw the attention of the incoming Government to the importance of the school meals service and to secure their commitment to the continuation of the School Lunch Grant.

"Without this additional funding, which is due to end next year, many local authorities will be reconsidering the level of service they can provide and the school meals service may well be at risk.

"For the sake of the future health and wellbeing of our children, we need to safeguard the school meals service. We need the combined voice of the whole of the hospitality industry behind us to do this.

"Children are the future customers of the hospitality industry and future contributors to the recruitment pool, so support for the service is an investment for the whole industry. A school meal provides the unique opportunity to engage with children in schools about the joy of eating in the company of others and encouraging them to eat a variety of foods, many of which may be unfamiliar to them, and to make healthy, balanced food choices necessary to maintain a healthy weight for a healthy life.

"There are many ways in which the hospitality industry can play a vital role and over the coming weeks you will be hearing through Caterer and Hotelkeeper how you can do that. A school lunch provides a nutritious meal every day which will ultimately help improve diets and lifestyles as well as decrease obesity.
"Please offer your support to this important cause now by signing up to our campaign."


The "School Meals Matter" campaign on twitter

Latest school meals news

Rob Rees appointed new chair of the School Food Trust >>
Lewisham council proposes 'No Fry Zones'around primary schools >>
Hertfordshire Catering signs up Saracen rugby players to promote school dinners >>
Only 1% of packed lunches in primary schools meet nutritional standards >>
School Food Trust welcomes Government food strategy >>
Free school dinner pilot boosts uptake in County Durham to 865 >>
School Food Trust launches £1 school dinner campaign in North Somerset
School Food Trust welcomes plans to extend free school dinners
School Food Trust funded training kitchen opens at Enfield college
Soccer star Jonathan Woodgate helps promote healthy school dinners
Scotland will struggle with free school meals commitment
LACA accepted as Change4Life partner
ParentPay and join forces
Wakefield Council puts primary school menus on Twitter
Free school meal trials start in Newham and County Durham
Schoolchildren spend £646m on junk food breakfasts, finds report
One in five families miss out on free school lunches
Somerset parents can now use Twitter to monitor children's school dinners >>
Sodexo clinches two-year school meals deal at Caterham School >>
Frozen food as nutritious as fresh for school meals, says report >>
Schoolgirl heads school meals campaign >>
Value for money is what matters most to schoolchildren >>
New school meals training centres announced >>
Debbie Mumford named School Chef of the Year 2009 >>
LACA tries to put brakes on school meals reform >>

More on

Round table: The fight to save school meals >>
39 steps to improve school meals uptake >>
Back to school: know your nutrients >>
EducationÁ‚ week: The kids are fed up >>
RecipesÁ‚ for schools Á¢Â€Â" lessons in simplicity >>
NeilÁ‚ Porter talks about the new-style National School Meals Week >>
FringeÁ‚ feeding in schools Á¢Â€Â" eat in and take-away >>

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