I officially took over as LACA Chair on September 12th, but I have been pretty active since having the ceremonial handover from Peter McGrath at the Main Event in July. Peter did a great job during his year in the ‘hot seat’ and I think we should all be grateful for his efforts and energy, he has also been a great support to me as I take over.
Following the Main Event I represented LACA at TUCO, joining our colleagues in the Higher Education sector, it was a fascinating conference down at Exeter University and quite different to our own Main Event. What I found most interesting is the integrated procurement service they have for their members, something I wasn’t aware of.
During the rest of July and August I was mainly catching up with fellow LACA board members and our suppliers as we prepared for a busy year ahead when schools returned from the summer holidays. I did attend my first LACA Events meeting where we set out the outline plans for next year’s event. The theme has a working title of ‘Facilitate, Educate, Communicate’, so look out for more info early in the New Year.
I was also involved in my first awards judging experience for Educatering magazine, I’m led to believe there will probably be many more over the next 11 months.
As I mentioned earlier the board meeting was held in Solihull on September 12th where we discussed a number of issues including the proposed research in to the impacts of UIFSM (you can find out more at the LACA Autumn seminar in November). I think we are in for a full year.
I took the news of the proposed research work to the School Food Plan Alliance meeting on the 13th. Our partners in the Alliance (Childrens Food Trust and Food For Life Partnership) were delighted to hear that we are going to pursue this line of action and are very supportive of us. We also talked about developments in the small school funding issue (or lack of it) and the ongoing use of the School Food Plan website and social media accounts.
There were 3 more key events in September. Tim Blowers my Vice Chair for the next 12 months represented LACA at the Welsh Assembly where we were promoting school meals and the upcoming National School Meals Week in November; whilst Peter McGrath attended an event with Public Health Nutrition Research where a delegate of Chinese school food providers wanted to understand more about the UK service.
Finally for the month, I attended and judged the Stork Big School Bake Off with Unilever on the 29th. What a great event at their fabulous offices in Leatherhead and a real privilege to judge with Jo Wheatley. Congratulations to the winner Sarah Levenson from Lordsgate Township C of E Primary School. We look forward to the 2017 competition which once again will be heavily involved with the Main Event.
I’ll tell you more about my October activities at the beginning of November.