A national charity aimed at improving children’s health and nutrition has been forced to close.
The Children’s Food Trust has been offering cookery courses and nutritional advice in schools and nurseries in England, Wales and Scotland for 12 years. A lack of funding has forced it to shut with the loss of 47 jobs, 31 of those at its Sheffield HQ.
Charity chief executive Linda Cregan (pictured) said: “Given the political and economic climate all charities are facing difficulties and we are no different. We remain passionate and dedicated to improving child health, but it has proved impossible to continue to deliver our services and extremely reluctantly the trustees have chosen to close the trust.”
She continued: “Because of the frameworks we have put in place in schools and early years settings, over 11 million children have access to better food. Families have benefited immeasurably from our Let’s Get Cooking programme, both from the skills our team have given people and from the recipes and resources made available to them. We have contributed hugely to ensuring the environment children grow up in is becoming healthier, by campaigning for measures on advertising unhealthy food, placement in supermarkets and most recently the tax on sugary drinks. Our collaboration with multiple stakeholders to carry out this great work has been incredible, so we ask them now to pick up the baton and not rest up on improving child health.”
The charity was set up in 2005 with a £15million grant from the government following a school dinner campaign run by the TV chef Jamie Oliver. Two years later it was awarded £20million by the Big Lottery Fund. It has also received funding from a number of organisations and companies, including supermarket chains, for fixed-term projects.
Adam Starkey, chair of trustees at the CFT, added: “We can be very proud of the work we have done but there is much more to do. We still face a crisis in child health, now more than ever, work in this area is vital. We urge everybody to ensure that action to improve children’s diet and the standard of the food they eat does not lose pace. Government, food producers and food retailers must make a commitment to researching what works, creating approaches and policies that have an impact, and campaigning to change behaviours that get children to eat well. Investment is needed so that organisations intent on improving child health can pick up the baton and continue our great work.”