Kitchen projects increase meal uptake

THE number of North Somerset children eating school meals has increased since millions-of-pounds were spent on installing new kitchens or refurbishing existing facilities.

North Somerset Council has been carrying out a programme of kitchen building and refurbishment after it was awarded a Government grant of just under �2million in 2008/09, which had to be spent within three years.

The projects have ranged from a few hundreds pounds being spent to replace crockery and service equipment to tens-of-thousands spent on brand new facilities.

A new kitchen has been created at St Nicholas Chantry Primary School in Clevedon and significant refurbishments have been carried out at High Down Junior School in Portishead, West Leigh Infants School in Backwell and Golden Valley primary in Nailsea.

Flax Bourton primary now has a shared kitchen used by pupils for cooking in the mornings and afternoons and by lunch staff in between and a new small kitchen is currently being installed at Wrington primary.

The council’s commissioning and contracts manager Lynda Mitchell said: “Part of the aim of this funding was to increase meal numbers and where we have put in new facilities and improvee the quality of production in other places, meal numbers have increased.

“Schools meals have to meet nutrition and food standards and research has demonstrated few lunch boxes meet the same requirements.”

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North Somerset Council serves about 8,300 meals every day totalling up to 1.5million every year.