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Blackpool Council’s Catering Services sets out future plans

Blackpool Council’s Catering Services has laid out plans for an ‘exciting future’ after a challenging 12 months.

Throughout 2020, in addition to maintaining its usual support for Blackpool’s schools, the department assisted with the delivery of essential services including food parcels. With the help of volunteers over half a million meals were prepared and distributed across Blackpool.

The council’s catering services have since become the largest education caterer in Blackpool after eight new schools joined their team this year. A number of new projects are in the pipeline, which will enable the team to improve the catering provision across the town.

The catering services has pledged to the Food Foundation’s Peas Please initiative to increase vegetable consumption across schools in Blackpool.

Cllr Kath Benson, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for schools, education and aspiration, said: “By 2023, our catering services aim to increase the amount of vegetables procured across our schools’ portfolio by 10%.

“We will do this by developing our menus and recipes, offering children more vegetables five days a week, as well as refining our meat-free options. We believe that educating children on food from a young age will help them to make healthier choices later on in life.

'Our congratulations go to everyone involved with the council’s catering services. These success stories are a demonstration of an ongoing commitment to changing people's lives for the better.'

Increased collaboration with schools will see pupils create menus that meet the nutritional needs and tastes of young people. Where possible fresh produce will be sourced via partnerships throughout Lancashire guaranteeing the provision of local meat, fish and eggs. Blackpool Council’s Catering Services also provides over 11,000 breakfasts each day to schools, ensuring pupils have the best possible start to their day.

The upcoming Chef’s Academy, set to launch in September 2021, will form a key part of the organisation’s future vision. Children in years ten and 11 will gain cookery skills and the knowledge they need to break into the hospitality industry. Through blended learning students will have the chance to gain externally verified qualifications.

In March 2021, Blackpool Council’s Catering Services were presented with the Food for Life Served Here Bronze Award from the Soil Association for serving fresh, locally-sourced meals to Blackpool schools.

Bryn Hamer, head of development at Food for Life, added: “Achieving a Food for Life Served Here Award is a fantastic accomplishment and a true reflection of a caterers’ commitment to serving school meals that are nutritious as well as tasty.

“We know that good food is a crucial part of the school day and with fresh, healthy meals being served, students are equipped with the fuel they need for their learning and development.”