The Caterer

Council set to fund Oliver school nosh

11 August 2005
Council set to fund Oliver school nosh

Greenwich Borough Council in London has earmarked 628,850 to take celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's school meals campaign to the next stage.

The cash, to be spent in the next school year starting in September, includes 284,000 for meals in primary and nursery schools. The funding will cover the extra time it takes to prepare meals from fresh ingredients.

Chris Roberts, leader of the south London council, said: "In Greenwich, we have introduced changes to school meals more widely and more quickly than any other council in the country. The healthier school meals owe a great deal to Jamie Oliver and his enthusiasm."

A further one-off sum of 40,000 has been found to pay for Oliver-supplied chefs to monitor school kitchens as the fresh menus get off the ground. "It will be a hand-holding exercise to get unit managers and cooks used to the new food," said a spokesman for Greenwich council.

Council chiefs have also set aside 28,000 for extra staff training, 12,500 for newsletters to parents, 50,000 towards new kitchen equipment, and 80,750 to raise the free school meal allowance by 10p.

The Greenwich spokesman said that the benefits of cooking from fresh had been noticed this year. "Over the past two months," he said, "we have seen that levels of sickness in kitchen staff have gone down. It's all part of staff feeling more motivated and enjoying what they do."

Children have also responded to the new diet. The spokesman noted: "Schools are also reporting better behaviour."

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