13 October 2011

The team behind Northamptonshire County Council's new hot meals service for schools has been shortlisted for three national catering awards.

Following on from the team's success in July at the national Local Authority Caterers Association awards, the service has now been shortlisted in three categories of the national Educatering Awards: Business of the Year, Innovation and Working in Partnership.

Councillor Andrew Grant, cabinet member for children, learning and skills, said: "It’s a tremendous achievement for the service to have reached the shortlist for these awards. We're very proud that the team's hard work and vision have been recognised."

Lee Vines, Sales and Marketing Director of the council's catering partner PKL, said "The council set themselves an incredible task to provide every primary school child in Northampton access to a hot meal, at a stage when the majority of county schools did not have kitchens. From the beginning, their approach was to believe that anything is possible and that a solution-focused determination would be the tool for making it happen."

The project involved 225 schools (more than three quarters of the county’s schools) who not only backed the project but also invested their individual capital budgets into it.

In order to provide a new countywide solution for schools without kitchen space, the council and PKL developed a range of specially designed modular kitchen solutions providing instant hot cook kitchen facilities in a permanent kitchen building. The product was based on PKL’s existing external KitchenPods (themselves a recent innovation to the marketplace) which were then developed to suit the needs of the schools in Northamptonshire.

The external KitchenPod is an innovative, modular kitchen building solution, which is designed and constructed off site and is delivered fully equipped with catering equipment to a school. Over 100 Pods will be installed once the project is completed in May 2012.

The winners will be announced on the 17th October 2011.