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Army of cooks hired as thousands more take up free school meals in Sunderland

Councillor Pat Smith, Portfolio Holder for Childrens Services, with some of the new school caterers.

Councillor Pat Smith, Portfolio Holder for Childrens Services, with some of the new school caterers.

A NEW team of school cooks are getting ready to dish up in the city next week.

Demand for Sunderland’s school meals service is increasing dramatically from September when meals become free for all reception, Year 1 and 2 pupils.

This national initiative has been introduced to give more children a hot and healthy meal at lunchtimes, and it will save families about £360 per child each year.

It is expected that meal numbers will increase by as much as 2,500 a day, and led to Sunderland City Council launching a major recruitment drive for 60 school caterers.

Coun Pat Smith, the council’s portfolio holder for children’s services, said: “Because of the links between diet, health and performance in education, the new-look school meals service is very welcome. I am sure it will be very welcome for parents too at a time when many household budgets are very stretched.”

New recruit Ruth Foot, who starts work in Seaburn Dene Primary School as a catering sssistant, said: “I’m passionate about supporting children to eat a healthy balanced diet so I’m really looking forward to getting started in September.”

 

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