A Morecambe school cook is celebrating after winning the Unsung Hero Award in a national school food competition.
Rose Rawcliffe, who works for Lancashire’s school catering service at Morecambe Bay Primary School, was presented with the award at the Lead Association for Catering in Education (LACA) Gala Dinner held at the Birmingham Hilton Metropole.
This category at the LACA Awards for Excellence celebrates an individual who has contributed to school catering and whose contribution would usually go unnoticed.
LACA work with local authorities, caterers and schools to promote healthy school meals in primary and secondary schools, colleges and academies.
LACA represents staff in schools, local authorities and catering services who provide three million lunches in 22,000 schools every day.
The judges praised Rose’s caring nature and innovative ways of making sure that the children at the school are well fed and nourished.
On top of her normal job of Unit Catering Supervisor providing healthy and nutritious lunches for the children, Rose runs a ‘Breakfast Club’ so that that every child receives a healthy breakfast.
Similarly, Rose also makes food for the After School Club, so that the children are provided with a healthy meal at teatime.
The ‘Family Cooking Club’ at the school, which was also established by Rose, provides an opportunity for parents to develop their understanding and confidence to make nutritionally balanced meals for their children.
The course is run in the food technology classroom with parents creating an economical but healthy meal that they can then take home to have for tea.
Additionally, Rose provided cooking classes and workshops for the parents at the school.
As well as supporting their child’s health and education, some of the parents have taken qualifications in catering enabling them to gain employment in the industry.
A tuck shop providing healthy options was also established by Rose. A wide range of fruit is available for all the children to snack on and also to teach them about healthier lifestyles.
During the school holidays, Rose has also implemented a ‘Make Lunch’ initiative.
Children on free school meals are able to go into school during the holidays and receive a hot lunch and to play outdoors with friends.
All of this activity is achieved in addition to Rose’s job of school cook, providing 250 high quality healthy meals each day.
Rose has previously been a regional finalist in the School Chef of the Year category of the LACA competition, putting her skills for the preparation, cooking and technical ability, together with creativity and presentation to the test.
She was also Highly Commended in the competition in 2016.
Rose said: “I love doing what I do, and helping people.
“I’m so proud to win this award. It’s lovely to be recognised. I really am over the moon.”
County Coun Susie Charles, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Schools, said: “I’d like to offer my personal congratulations to Rose.
“She is incredible in her contribution to the school catering industry, clearly going above and beyond the expectations of her job every day, more often than not with her own personal inventiveness.
“Rose is obviously a thoroughly deserving winner. I’m delighted to see her receive the praise that she deserves.”
More information about LACA is available at www.laca.co.uk