Inverclyde Council celebrates six years of serving local, organic food to pupils

Inverclyde Council’s catering team are celebrating after the council renewed its Food for Life Served Here (FFLSH) Bronze award for the sixth year in a row.

The council, which first received the FFLSH Bronze award in 2019, is now serving around 5,000 nutritious, sustainable and locally-sourced Food for Life meals in its 20 primary schools and 19 nurseries every day.

That’s an incredible 95,000 meals per year – all locally-sourced and freshly prepared for Inverclyde’s young people.

Food for Life Served Here Bronze award 3
Pupils Fergus, Jordan and Sophia with (back row) Holly, Anna and Finn take a seat with Convener of Education and Communities, Councillor Jim Clocherty; Callum Wilkinson, Data and Evaluations manager for The Soil Association; Linda Knox, Inverclyde Council’s Hungry for Success co-ordinator and Sandra Coyle, catering manager at St Ninian’s Primary

Local authorities receive the FFLSH certification following an independent assessment and inspection to ensure the food being served in schools across the local authority is good for pupils’ health, good for the environment and good for the local economy. The scheme is run by Soil Association Scotland and funded by Scottish Government.

Inverclyde contains some of the most deprived areas of Scotland and is the first local authority to extend universal free school meals to all primary pupils. For some children, their school meal is the only one they'll have that day. That's why it's so important to the council that the food they're getting is healthy and nutritious.

Inverclyde Council decided to go for the Food for Life Served Here Bronze award in primary schools to improve the quality of the region's school meals. Staff looked at every element of the existing school menus to see what needed to change. They worked with suppliers to switch to produce that met the Food for Life standards, rejigging the whole menu to fit both the budget and the Food for Life standards.

Councillor Jim Clocherty, Convener of Education and Communities, said: “To have achieved this accolade for the sixth year in a row is a tremendous achievement and full credit goes to our education and catering staff.

“They deliver healthy, nutritious meals to our young children every day, something I’m sure many parents will agree is not always an easy task.

“This award recognises the meals are locally-sourced and sustainable with a map showing where ingredients come from given to parents and on display in all school dining areas.

Food for Life Served Here Bronze award 1
Pupils from St Ninian’s Primary in Gourock queue up for a healthy lunch

“As a council we are committed to ensuring our young people have the best start in life and that includes free school meals from P1 right through to P7, the first local authority in Scotland to offer that.”

Staff have since regularly taken part in the free training days offered by the Food for Life team to continue their education on the programme and how they can keep putting good food on the plate for Inverclyde’s young people.

Sarah Duley, Head of Food, Soil Association Scotland, said: “Congratulations to Inverclyde for renewing their Food for Life Served Here Bronze Award for another year. This is a huge achievement and shows that staff are dedicated to providing pupils with a hot, nutritious meal that’s healthy, freshly prepared and sustainably produced.

“We are delighted to recognise Inverclyde for continuing to put more good food on school plates and for supporting Scotland’s food businesses and Good Food Nation ambitions.”