School unveils new £140,000 kitchen serving free meals

Coun Patricia Bradwell cuts the ribbon on the Food Cube at Mrs Mary King's School in Martin, watched by pupils, headteacher Andrew Sewell and kitchen superviser Gavin Whitworth. EMN-151215-134134001
Coun Patricia Bradwell cuts the ribbon on the Food Cube at Mrs Mary King's School in Martin, watched by pupils, headteacher Andrew Sewell and kitchen superviser Gavin Whitworth. EMN-151215-134134001

A primary school has just improved its hot meal provision by opening a new kitchen thanks to a £140,000 grant.

Mrs Mary King’s CE Primary School in Martin is one of seven schools to share £1.2m secured by the county council from the Department for Education under the universal free school meals programme.

In the new kitchen at Mrs Mary King's School, Martin, from left - superviser Gavin Whitworth, headteacher Andrew Sewell and County Councillor Patricia Bradwell. EMN-151215-134524001

In the new kitchen at Mrs Mary King's School, Martin, from left - superviser Gavin Whitworth, headteacher Andrew Sewell and County Councillor Patricia Bradwell. EMN-151215-134524001

The stand-alone, fully equipped modular kitchen ‘pod’ is the same design as those used to provide catering during the London 2012 Olympics and can be bolted together to make them as big as needed.

After a song by the school choir, County Councillor Patricia Bradwell, Executive Councillor for Children’s Services and a governor at the Martin school, officially opened the new kitchen facility on Monday and said: “We are delighted to have secured significant funding from the DfE to make these new school kitchens a reality. This means over 2,500 Lincolnshire pupils now have access to nutritious hot meals which are cooked on site – some of the new kitchen pods are also providing meals for neighbouring schools. As well as the health benefits to children from enjoying hot lunches at school, studies suggest that young children eating a healthy meal together can improve their development and social skills, increase concentration and prepare them better to learn.”

The kitchen is supervised by Gavin Whitworth, with an assistant, and will supply hot meals to children at both Martin and Walcott schools as part of the Carre Dyke Federation.Other schools may be supplied too in future.

Headteacher Andrew Sewell said: “It has taken quite a while to get up and running. Previously the food had been delivered from Kesteven and Sleaford High School and that has been great and they have helped us out enormously since we lost our old school meal provider which could not cope with lots of small schools when the universal free school meals programme came in.”

He said: “We have been very fortunate that the Lincolnshire food team put a bid in for us.

“It is important children have a healthy meal and we want to expand this in the future beyond just Martin and Walcott in future.”

The schools are now enjoying providing their children with exciting new menus and food education linked to growing and cooking. Hot meal take up is increasing as children tuck in and enjoy their balanced wholesome meals.