MPs and Lords enjoy school meal at end of National School Meals Week

Members of parliament and the House of Lords enjoyed a specially prepared menu of school food to commemorate LACA's 25th anniversary of National School Meals Week (NSMW).

National School Meals week concluded on 16 November, and included a week's worth of activities across the country, celebrating all that is great about school food, was concluded by the event at the Palace of Westminster.

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, Nadhim Zahawi MP addressed the guests and spoke about the importance of our children having a hot, healthy and nutritious two-course lunch on a daily basis. The Minister’s comments endorsed the messages that LACA had been taking around the country during NSMW about the qualities and benefits of a school meal.

LACA NSMW Sponsor and Seconder respectively, Shadow Ministers Mrs Sharon Hodgson and Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods also addressed the guests in a similar vein and stressed that for some children a school meal would be the only hot meal that they would have on any given day. Following NSMW on the Tuesday, Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, spoke at a rally in London on the Saturday and re-iterated his party’s pledge to make all primary school children, eligible for a free school meal.

The event was without doubt a great triumph and the “perfect way to round off a tremendous celebration of all that is great about school meals not only today, but over the past 25 years” commented LACA Chair of Events Neil Porter. “There is no doubt in my mind that when the then LACA Board launched NSMW that they had great vision in creating a platform for communication of the great work that school caterers were – and still are – doing that was going largely unheralded. Since that time, NSMW has evolved into a flagship event that has grown in its importance to the education catering industry and created greater awareness to not only the general public, but to all the thousands of dedicated individuals who do such a great job throughout the school year” continued Porter.

“However back in 1993, I doubt that even the most optimistic of LACA Board Members would have imagined that the fledgling week of celebrations would have developed into the colossal annual event that is NSMW today. Regular presentations to the Governments in Westminster and Cardiff to make sure that school meals are kept high on the political agenda; the conduit for communicating LACA messaging to the public via a wide cross-section of media channels; engaging thousands of schools across England and Wales in a plethora of activity and promotions; engaging with members across all ten LACA regions in their own part of the world with the fantastic LACA NSMW Roadshow; School Chefs working in Michelin Star restaurants, rubbing shoulders with some of the most celebrated chefs in the world of fine dining; and this year LACA NSMW were even considered worthy of producing an absolute masterpiece of ‘A Cake Fit for a (Future) King’ to mark the 70th birthday of HRH Prince Charles. There is just so much more for everyone in the education catering industry to be involved in and to be rightly proud of,” said Porter.

The LACA Chair of Events concluded “As this landmark celebration draws to a close I think that we owe our colleagues from 25 years ago a vote of thanks for having the foresight to start a programme that is now a fixture in the school meals calendar and each year adds to its significance. We also have to thank our sponsors Kraft Heinz Foodservice for their fantastic support and on behalf of the board I can say that it is very much appreciated. I didn’t think it would have been possible to have topped last year’s happenings, but the LACA NSMW team produced a programme that we can rightly look back on and say that the Silver Jubilee celebrations were a glorious success.”