Wisbech Mayor, Michael Hill, was on hand to dish out awards to three Fenland schools and their pupils for putting healthy eating firmly on the menu.
The awards were presented at a special ceremony at Peckover House, Wisbech, and hosted by the national programme, Food for Life Partnership.
The three successful schools, all from Wisbech, were: Orchards Church of England Primary School, Peckover Primary School and Wisbech Grammar School. They received bronze awards for having completed the first part of a food for life programme. The schools were joined by special guests, Cambridgeshire County Councillor Kilian Bourke, Chairman of the Council's Health Committee and Fenland District Councillor Mike Cornwall, Health and Well Being Lead.
The Food for Life Partnership is a national programme and is working with around 50 Cambridgeshire schools and their pupils to transform eating habits. As part of the initiative, schools are encouraged to serve healthy and tasty menus and students learn about where food comes from, how it is produced and cooked.
Cambridgeshire County Council's Public Health team has commissioned the Food for Life Partnership to provide extra help to schools in areas of higher need where eating habits are leading to dietary problems or obesity. Five of the schools attending the awards on Thursday - Peckover Primary School; Orchards Church of England Primary School; All Saints Inter-Church Academy, March; Park Lane School, Whittlesey; and Spinney Primary School, Cambridge - have all received this additional support.
The programme includes organising farm visits, sourcing food from local producers, providing growing and cooking clubs for students and parents as well as serving freshly prepared school dinners which use seasonal ingredients. Throughout the county, schools outside of the areas of higher need are also signing up to the programme to help their students make the change to healthier meal options.
The event also recognised the progress that has been made by the County Council's Catering Service and business Lunchtime UK, with both organisations achieving the Soil Association's Food for Life Catering Mark bronze award for the meals they provide for local schools. This independent endorsement recognises the quality of the food provided, using fresh ingredients which are free from unhealthy fats, harmful additives and are better for animal welfare.
Kilian Bourke, Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council's Health Committee, said: " It's fantastic to see schools, students and parents are working together to learn about healthy eating. The Food for Life Partnership is a brilliant scheme and can play an important role in tackling obesity, as well as reducing carbon emissions and boosting the local economy.
"I was particularly impressed by the efforts of the pupils from Wisbech who are already winning awards and doing their area proud. The competition is hotting up, though, as more schools from around the County get involved, so they will have to keep it up if they want to hold on to the top spot next year!"
Local Programme Manager for the Food for Life Partnership, Carrie Bewick added: "The Food for Life Partnership really tries to make food fun and healthy so it's attractive to both parents and students. It was wonderful to see the schools involved receiving their bronze awards after all their work. They really can act as an inspiration to other schools who are involved. There can be a real knock on effect for pupil progress by prioritising food education; raising self-esteem and wellbeing and helping with the acquisition of key life skills. Whether receiving a Food for Life Partnership award or gaining inspiration from others to achieve an award, it has been a day of celebration."