What makes us special
Local Food Links is a unique organisation. From the start we’ve always been about bringing healthy local food to more people, and supporting local businesses.
Now we’ve grown into a larger team we’re still 100% committed to doing all those things, but on a much bigger scale. All the funds we raise go into developing even better menus and providing meals to children in small schools where having an in-house kitchen isn’t an option.
We’ve been feeding children good, healthy food for years. The School Food Plan, which led to the introduction in September 2014 of free school meals for all KS1 children, is further confirmation that we’re doing the right thing.
Unlike all of our competitors, our meals are freshly prepared daily and delivered short distances.
Local Food Links was established in 1999 by the West Dorset Food and Land Trust, a registered charity and local community organisation, to run Farmer’s Markets and other food initiatives. These initiatives included Bridport Food Festival, the Grow It, Cook It, Eat It Project, cookery workshops and NVQ training in Catering for young people.
We also set up a hot meals service for schools and nurseries operating from the kitchen at our newly established Centre for Local Food. This was a major evolution in school meal catering, which today is dominated by industrial scale contract caterers that supply schools across the UK.
Local Food Links today
Local Food Links now focuses mainly on our school meals service. Our kitchens in Bridport and Blandford provide freshly prepared meals daily to over 30 schools and nurseries. We also run a mini-hub kitchen at Dorchester Middle School that also supplies The Prince of Wales school, and a new on-site kitchen in Shillingstone that supplies five other schools.
Free school meals for KS1
Following recommendations in the School Food Plan, from September 2014 the government is funding free school meals to all Key Stage 1 pupils (in reception, year 1 and year 2) in state-funded schools in England.
It’s very important that schools have a high take-up of these free school meals: not only is it in the children’s interests, it is a significant source of funding – as well as a criterion for Ofsted inspections.
Managing the introduction of a school meals service can be very time-consuming – but at Local Food Links we handle the entire process for you.
You’ll find more details about the plan here: http://www.gov.uk/guidance/universal-infant-free-school-meals-guide-for-schools-and-local-authorities