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Education catering organsiations celebrate International School Meals Day

The heads of school catering organisations throughout the UK have joined forces to mark International School Meals Day today (March 14th) with an open letter of praise for the work of their teams.

In the letter to their members Christopher Ross, chair of ASSIST FM, Anita Brown, chair of LACA, Judith Gregory, vice chair of LACA and former chair of its Wales Region, and Stephen Briggs, head of catering for the Education Authority (Northern Ireland) say: 'We have the pleasure of wishing all our school meals colleagues across Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland a very happy International School Meals Day.

'This is a day when we celebrate you, the everyday heroes who go above and beyond in the communities you serve. As our front-line colleagues, you are the eyes, ears, hearts, and soul of the schools in which you work and we salute you.

'Never forget the incredible difference you make to learners every day by providing a delicious, freshly cooked meal to the ever-growing numbers you serve every day. It doesn’t end just with the meal you serve, the words of wisdom bestowed to learners with their lunch, your compassion and care on a bad day, and the reassuring presence you have as an ever constant at the heart of the school is equally as important.

'With the continued cost of living crisis, the spotlight on the school meals service highlights the growing role we all play in ensuring the nation’s children are fed a high-quality, nutritious lunch in a safe environment - something you should be incredibly proud, as we are.”

Anita Brown commented: 'Our staff are the heart of our services who work tirelessly every day giving our children a great start with a healthy nutritious school lunch. They make a huge difference to our children and young people and lets face it we would be lost without these amazing people. Happy School Meals Day.'

Chris Ross said: 'Looking ahead, we are planning for the further roll out of Universal Free School Meals in Scotland, creating many new jobs in the local area, investment in the local economy and most importantly access to a hot meal for growing number of learners who rely on our service to provide the only hot meal they may get in that day.'

Judith Gregory added: “Across Wales, school meal teams have been the key players in delivering the rollout of Universal Primary Free School Meals, so that by September this year all primary age pupils in Wales will be able to access a free school meal – what a great achievement by everyone in just two years.”

The letter concludes: 'So, give yourselves a big pat on the back, hold your heads high, know how valued you are, and use International School Meals Day as a celebration of the wonderful work out there in schools not only across the UK, but across the world.'