Highland Council confirms commitment to Food For Life
16th May 2019
Already leading the way when it comes to providing nutritional school meals, The Highland Council has reaffirmed its commitment to put more local fresh seasonal food on school dinner plates.
Catherine Pendreigh, Food for Life Partnerships Manager at the Soil Association gave a presentation at today's Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee on the accreditation already awarded to Highland Council's school meals and how this could be further developed in the future.
The Food for Life Served Here award is a widely respected and independently assessed scheme, supported by the Scottish Government, which supports Local Authorities to provide more local food and serve healthy, sustainable meals. It recognises and rewards councils that are serving food made from fresh ingredients, free from undesirable additives and trans fats, that meets UK welfare standards, and complies with national nutrition standards.
Despite the challenges of serving Scotland’s largest council area, which includes some of the most sparsely populated areas of the UK, this will be the 10th year running that Highland Council has achieving the Soil Association Scotland’s Silver and Bronze Food for Life Served Here award in its primary schools and nurseries.
Highland serves 10,740 a day across their 161 primary schools and nurseries. With menus updated every six months for seasonal variance. There is regular consultation with pupils and staff to improve the freshly-cooked nutritionally balanced food choices and recipes.
Ingredients sourced locally which pupils regularly enjoy include:
beef, pork, lamb and venison from John M Munro, Highland Butcher, all sourced within 50 miles of Dingwall;
Highland free range eggs and Graham’s Dairy organic milk; and
local fruit and vegetables from Swansons Fruit Company, Inverness, including potatoes from Nairn and cabbages from Kirkhill.
Thanking Catherine Pendreigh for her presentation at committee, Chair, Cllr Allan Henderson said: "The council has long supported local food and farmers markets and we are delighted with our success in the Food for Life programme over the last decade.
"I would like to thank our catering staff for their hard work to make sure the menus offer plenty of seasonal, fresh and local produce. I would also like to thank our teaching staff for all their work in promoting to their pupils the many benefits of eating healthy foods and we look forward to working closely with the Soil Association in the future."
Extra cash in the pockets of low income families Eligible parents of children aged four and five are being encouraged to apply for financial support worth £250. The one-off £250 payment is currently open to eligible families with a child who was born between 1 March 2015 and 29 February 2016 and who is old enough to start primary one this year.
Works on the Inverness West Link Stage 2 were suspended on the 24 March 2020 following COVID-19 guidance from the Scottish Government. The Highland Council has been in dialogue with Contractors RJ McLeod and has agreed that essential works are required to begin to address safety issues but primarily the works to be undertaken are to provide for physical distancing and encourage active travel, walking, wheeling and cycling as part of, and to augment the successful Spaces for People project.
The COVID-19 small business and self-catering grant schemes, set up to help companies stay in business during the coronavirus crisis, have now paid out £59,628,750 to over 5500 Highland businesses. The Council has now processed 99% of the applications received since the grant schemes opened.
Blueprint for safe return to classes. Detailed guidance on practical measures to allow schools to re-open on 11 August has been published.
The Highland Council is assessing the implications of the First Minister's announcements made on the 21st May about the first stage relaxation of lockdown, concerning teachers and other education staff returning to the workplace during June to prepare for the return to school and settings on 11th August. Highland Council's Education Committee Chair, Cllr John Finlayson said: "The return to workplace and Highland schools for our Education staff will have to be undertaken carefully and gradually.
The Highland Council's Environmental Health Team is advising consumers to use their water wisely and check their private water supply systems for any signs of water leaks or risks of contamination. A private water supply is a property that does not have a Scottish Water mains water connection.
The Highland Council can now confirm which of the Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) across the region will re-open from Monday 1st June 2020. A phased approach to re-opening the sites will be adopted with strict controls in place to help manage social distancing and to ensure the anticipated high number of visitors and volume of waste can be handled safely and efficiently.
The Highland Council's Housing Service currently operates an annual garden aid scheme, cutting grass in approximately 1,300 council house gardens. The Garden Aid service is for older or disabled tenants who don't have anyone to help them cut their grass.
Following an ambitious bid by Highland Council supported by NHS Highland, to deliver rapid active travel interventions in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, The Highland Council has been awarded £752,954 from the Scottish Government's Spaces for People fund, which is administered by Sustrans. Over the coming weeks towns across Highland and the City of Inverness will see a roll-out of temporary walking, wheeling and cycling infrastructure along priority routes.
Public assurance is being provided by Highland Council that the organisation is fully transparent and accountable during the COVID-19 emergency response as it publishes decisions made by its group of senior officers - or Gold Group* - under emergency procedures. The list of decisions made since 19 March 2020 is on the Council's website at the following link and will continue to the added to and updated as further decisions are made using emergency procedures.
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