Trust partnership helps free school meals pupils to eat healthy at home

Olive Dining food director Chris Whitter holding a box of food and produce.

Olive Dining food director Chris Whitter. - Credit: Arthur Communications

A multi-academy trust has teamed up with a catering company to provide fresh produce and recipe tips for pupils on free school meals.

Community Schools Trust, which runs Forest Gate Community School and The Cumberland School in Plaistow, is working with Olive Dining to create five-day hampers.

The hampers are being delivered to families by teachers at the schools and include fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs and cheese as well as recipes such as curries and pasta sauce dishes. 

Video recipes created by Olive Dining chefs are also being shared on social media and emailed to families to them to eat healthy, hot meals during school closures. 

Olive Dining food director Chris Whitter holding a box of food and produce.

Olive Dining food director Chris Whitter. - Credit: Arthur Communications

Olive Dining food director Chris Whitter said: “As a company we are always looking at ways to innovate.


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“We have top quality chefs at our schools who, at the moment, have got time on their hands. 

“They have come up with these recipe videos, which our schools have been more than happy to share.

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“It is great working with multi-academy trusts like the Community Schools Trust because they are very open to innovation.

"So far the hampers have gone down a storm.” 

The seemingly meagre lockdown hampers being distributed to some families at other schools sparked outrage and were branded unacceptable by ministers, after photos were shared widely on social media last week.

Lockdown hampers were being delivered to many of the eligible families across the country by a company contracted by the government, which has now reinstated the national free school meal voucher scheme.

Community Schools Trust chief executive Simon Elliott said: “We saw what was being shared on social media and were appalled - this is not the standard of food our children would receive at school, it is not acceptable at home. 

The Community Schools Trust chief executive Simon Elliott. Picture: Ellie Hoskins

The Community Schools Trust chief executive Simon Elliott. Picture: Ellie Hoskins - Credit: Archant

“Olive Dining are truly an exceptional provider of school food and we knew that what they would offer would be very different.

"They did not let us down. The food they serve in our schools is of a very high standard and the hampers are equally so. 

“Our teachers, once again, have been on hand to lend their support. 

“They have made the effort to support families with making healthy, quality food at home with their recipe videos.”

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