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Rochdale primary school gets first on-site kitchen

The project to bring kitchen facilities to St Mary's Primary School, Rochdale, has been celebrated with a special opening lunch.

St Mary's primary had previously had a satellite kitchen for numerous years where meals were produced off site and transported in from another school. Now, the school is enjoying freshly cooked meals in their new state-of-the-art facility.

Space was tight in the school to accommodate a kitchen but staff from the council's facilities team worked hard to maximise the space available, providing the school with new cooking facilities.

To celebrate the new kitchen, the school hosted a special open day to showcase the food now available on site. Rochelle, the borough’s healthy eating hero, cut the ribbon to the new kitchen with Hercules the Hornet from Rochdale Hornets Rugby Club.

Fresh Kitchen is Rochdale Borough Council's award-winning school catering service. It provides schools with locally sourced, value for money healthy meals made fresh on site by experienced catering staff.

Councillor Kieran Heakin, cabinet member for children's services, said, 'We are really committed to healthy school meals for our pupils. Our Fresh Kitchen ethos is that there is nothing better than providing consistent, high-quality, nutritious food that is appetising, freshly cooked on site and is ethically sourced.

'Providing the school with a new kitchen on site means we can now batch cook for freshness and give the children an improved quality school lunch.'

Fresh kitchen schools, like St Mary's, are leading the way in offering a range of food and drinks to their pupils that are lower in saturated fat, trans fats, sugar and salt.

Kay Whitfield, headteacher at St Mary's, said, 'The open day for our new kitchen has been brilliant and seeing the children's faces was wonderful. It's great that children are talking to me about the food and how much they were enjoying it.

'We have already seen an increase in the take up of school lunches and the more children that are having these lunches, the more it is improving children's behaviour and their abilities to concentrate, learn and interact with others.'

The council's Fresh Kitchens offer fruit and vegetables every day, actively promoting healthier options and they hold a level 5 food hygiene rating. They have all been awarded a Greater Manchester Healthier Catering Award which recognises their work to provide children with a nutritious and balanced meal.

Meals on the new menu include options such as chicken fajita tacos, roast beef penne arrabiata, fish fingers, salmon fillet, orange and cinnamon muffins, summer fruit crumble and rice pudding.