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LACA hosts final webinar of the school year

06 Jul 2021
LACA, the school food people, hosted a webinar on Wednesday 30 July at 2pm which contained an update from national chair Stephen Forster as well as presentations from Leeds City Council and Sugarwise.

Stephen Forster, national chair of LACA, opened the last webinar of the term by saying: “We are already thinking about September with great optimism around the end of Covid restrictions. I am sure we will all be seeing some quickly arranged Euro celebration themed days so please share all that you are doing on that score before the end of term.”

He then stated that plans for the LACA main event, which is scheduled to take place 12-14 October 2021, are progressing well with bookings coming in for the conference itself and entries to the Finishing Touches competition.

Forster adds: “I recognise that it has been a difficult year but there has been some great things happening out there despite the challenges so please make certain that you flag your team successes and get your nominations in for our LACA Awards for Excellence.”

National School Meals Week will take place from 8-12 November and the theme for this year will be centered around a school tucker trial. NSMW aims to encourage non-users to trial school meals or get users to try something new on the school menu such as low sugar recipes or plant-based meals.

Mandy Snaith, head of catering at Leeds City Council which employs 1,100 staff across 240 sites and provides 32,000 school meals daily, joined the LACA webinar to discuss developing relationships across their business model throughout the pandemic.

Snaith explained as a team there is ‘nothing we can’t do’ and that became Leeds City Council’s mantra during the Covid-19 pandemic. Leeds City Council looked after their workforce by communicating with staff via Facebook, allaying concerns and providing financial or mental health support.

In December Leeds City Council was helped by ADSA and DPD to deliver 13,000 hampers free school meals children and 6,000 hampers to families living in poverty. Leeds City Council also made a food pledge around waste to pass edible food to their third sector partners.

Sugarwise is a registered charity on a mission to improve the food environment in the interest of public health, tackling diseases associated with overconsumption of sugar.

Zoe Birch, head of partnerships at Sugarwise, explains: “We work with the local authorities and the caterers to go through all their recipes and ingredients to look at the sugar content and then we provide the certification with the logo to be able to show the extra mile that the caterers are going to.

“We are seeing major improvements over the years in terms of how much sugar is now being served in schools but there is still more that can be done and we are here to work with [LACA] to be able to do that.”

Previously some children were consuming up to ten times the recommended daily sugar limit for their age group but now up to one million children are eating Sugarwise menus in schools.

Tiphaine Boulin, head of nutrition science and communications at Sugarwise, adds: “Our overarching promise is to turn the tide on obesity and other non-communicable diseases linked to diet and health one Sugarwise menu at a time.”

Victoria Morgan from SVC updated LACA members about what has been happening in the last few months in the political world from free school parcels to government roadmap plans. LACA continues calling for sustainable funding for free FSM & UFSM and holds regular discussions with DfE. 

Watch the full webinar online at: www.laca.co.uk/webinars

LACA are planning to host a back to school webinar in September to update members about NSMW, the main event and other topical points.