Hot school dinners back on the menu

Volunteers step into to ensure hearty meals continue at Membury Primary School.

When Membury Primary School cancelled its contract for hot school dinners, hearty meals were not off the menu for long - volunteers rallied to cook the food in the neighbouring village hall.

The school’s chairman of governors, Marilyn Burrough, together with a team of parents, stepped in to start cooking meals for the children after the school was forced to scrap a contract due to the cost.

It was initially run one day a week, but steadily grew in popularity, and is now run throughout the week.

Headteacher Ruth Eleanor said: “The children enjoy meal times and I think we have a lot more empty plates.

“It is about creating a healthy love for food and that it is OK to enjoy food.”

She added: “All the staff love having school dinners and the take up with the children is excellent.

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“It is a really nice occasion.

“All the food is sourced locally, as much as possible.”

Menus include hearty favourites such as roast dinners and sponge pudding with custard, which is a particular favourite at the school.

The school also runs themed menus to coincide with events.

Pupils have even got involved in the preparation of the meals by collecting their own fruit to go into their crumble desserts.

The team of volunteers, including parents, help with different duties involved with the preparation and clean up afterwards.

Miss Eleanor said the huge support from parents has made a “huge difference”.

“We are really pleased the children are getting a healthy balanced diet and it is a fabulous opportunity for them to enjoy food in a social setting for all ages, which is quite important.

“Everyone feels included.”

However, the school are looking at other options for the future and don’t expect this to continue in the long-term.

Schools in Chardstock and Uplyme are faced with scrapping school meals due to increasing costs.

Membury parent Jakki Henderson said: “From the kitchens of our well equipped village hall, situated beside the school, hot, home made dinners are served to our children, including home baked desserts.

“The children love this arrangement and have even helped with new ideas to include in our menus.”

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