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Funding will support pupils to enjoy healthy food habits

Published: 5 September 2019

We’re supporting a project designed to encourage school pupils to learn about where their food comes from, how to cook it and how to develop healthy eating habits.

We are providing £70,000 to continue supporting the Food for Life (FFL) programme - a national project bringing schools and communities together around the idea of healthy, tasty and sustainable food.

Food for Life is about much more than just the food on your plate, it works to change the way we think about food by encouraging children to learn where their food comes from, how it is grown and how to prepare healthy, balanced meals.

Our Cabinet Member for Health and Communities, Councillor Carol Hart said:

“With growing rates of obesity in the UK it is vital that we give children the knowledge and understanding of where their food comes from and how to develop healthy eating habits from an early age.”

Across Derbyshire almost 3,000 children entering reception and almost 4,000 children leaving year 6 in 2016/17 were overweight or obese.

At age 15 Derbyshire children are eating significantly fewer portions of fruit and vegetables than the average for England and many other local authorities in the East Midlands.

It is proposed that the additional funding will support the following:

  • 15 additional school’s packages in targeted areas
  • One to one support of FFL coordinator and additional resources to work with a minimum of 30 schools including existing schools
  • Increase the number and range of training sessions to support schools
  • To continue to support our catering services to maintain the Silver FFL Catering Mark across Primary Schools and Bronze across secondary schools. This is a nationally recognised standard, developed to reflect best practice in healthy and sustainable school meals.

Cllr Hart added:

“Food for Life supports schools to carry out a wide range of activities including growing their own food; organising trips to farms; sourcing food from local producers; setting up school farmers’ markets and providing cooking and growing clubs for pupils and their families.

“All of this is designed to encourage a sustainable approach to food that will help young people develop a lifelong appreciation of good food and healthy diets.

“Our school catering staff have also made a big difference. Our catering service currently has the silver award for all primary schools and the bronze award for secondary school.

“This means that nearly 40,000 Food for Life Served Here standard meals are being served to over 350 primary schools in Derbyshire.

“It is widely acknowledged that fresh, nutritious, good quality school meals lead to healthy, happy children.

81 schools have taken part in Food for Life so far. Independent evaluation of the programme shows that some of the benefits include:

  • Pupils in FFL schools were twice as likely to eat 5 or more portions of fruit and vegetables per day than those in comparison schools
  • Pupils in FFL schools were about 40% more likely to ‘like’ or ‘really like’ school meals
  • Pupils in FFL schools eat approximately a third more fruit and vegetables than those in comparison schools.