Lincolnshire County Council’s food in schools team was one of three short-listed finalists for a national award for innovation in raising school meal uptake or the profile of school catering.
Coun Patricia Bradwell, executive councillor for children’s services at the council, said: “We have made giant strides to implement the Government’s universal free school meals initiative for all infant children to have access to hot school meals.
“The timeline we were set was extremely challenging but the Food in Schools team have worked tirelessly and innovatively with schools and catering providers to hit their target.
“They’ve done really well to be chosen as a finalist from strong country-wide competition.”
The council’s food in schools team worked collaboratively with catering providers and other partners such as the Children’s Food Trust and Food for Life to provide support to schools during implementation plans for universal free school meals for infants in the summer of 2014 and beyond.
Raising the profile of schools meals, the team was successful in a £1.2 million funding bid to the DfE for seven pod kitchens and two new school kitchens which have allowed around 2,500 more children the ability to access nutritious hot meals.
Denise Hornsey, food in schools project officer, said: “With such a rural county as ours, we have always faced difficulties in getting food to many small schools without kitchens.
“But good collaboration between schools and using new school kitchen hubs run by catering partners means we are able to transport meals to those schools who can’t cook on site.”
Alison Coates, a fellow food in schools project officer, added: “Our submission also highlighted our focus on the future.
“We are supporting schools to adopt a ‘whole school approach’ to food education and food served throughout the school day and how this can impact on concentration, health and wellbeing and learning.
“It’s great for the whole team that our efforts have been recognised.”