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10 February 2014
Caterers at a Croydon care home are celebrating this week after receiving a top award for its high quality meals.

Pride Catering was awarded the Soil Association’s Gold Food for Life Catering Mark for serving fresh and healthy meals made with local and organic ingredients to residents at Whitgift House, South Croydon.

The Gold Catering Mark is the first of its kind ever to be awarded to a care home in the UK.

Staff and residents packed out the home’s Community Room to watch the presentation of the award by the Mayor of Croydon, Cllr Yvette Hopley, at a special ceremony held on Wednesday 5 February.

Pride’s team of chefs currently serve up around 100 meals per day at Whitgift House to staff, residents and also to the home’s popular weekday lunch club open to retired residents in the local community.

In order to receive the award, Pride’s menus were changed to reflect the seasons and locality of produce.

All meat, fruit, vegetables and eggs supplied are now organic, free range and sourced from farms in the South of England:

  • Local suppliers include Rother Valley Organics, Rogate, Hampshire, who supply beef and CMB butchers, Lingfield, who supply free range chickens and outdoor reared pork.

 

  • Pride’s green grocer, Foodari, is based in Ashford and all seasonal produce is from farms in the Kent area. Vans deliver the grocery in the morning and on the way back to the farm they collect the produce ready to be delivered for the next day.

Dorothy, full nursing care resident at Whitgift House, commented: “I think the food is excellent. We have a lovely, varied selection of good quality food which is served very well.’

Whilst resident, George, full nursing care resident, said: “Well cooked, well presented and a very good variety.”

Commenting on their achievement, Joan Gilbert, Managing Director at Pride, said:  "Pride Catering Partnership Limited is delighted with the recent achievement at Whitgift House of the Gold Catering mark. Head Chef, Chris Harcus and his team with the support of Deborah Kenny our Operations Manager have done a fantastic job!"

Rosie Boycott, Chair of London Food Board, said: “It’s fantastic that Pride and Whitgift House’s commitment to serving fresh, local and organic food has been recognised by the Soil Association’s Gold Food for Life Catering Mark. This is a significant first for the care sector – and provides the recognition they deserve for leading the way into a healthy future for food in Care Settings; with healthy, fresh food becoming the norm. Serving Gold Standard food will provide Whitgift residents with the food they need to encourage residents to eat well and provide the nutrients needed for lasting good health, as well as helping to reduce carbon emissions and support local businesses. We are looking forward to seeing other care settings across London and elsewhere follow this inspirational example.”

Rob Sexton, Chief Executive of Soil Association Certification, said: "The Gold Catering Mark is a fantastic achievement, so it’s brilliant to see Pride and Whitgift House gaining recognition for serving great fresh meals made with seasonal, local and organic ingredients. Serving menus to Gold Catering Mark standards can significantly reduce carbon emissions and supports local businesses so this is a win-win for planet-friendly food and the local economy. It is widely recognised that the service of good hospital food is an integral part of good care; a better diet is known to improve public health and deliver multiple benefits for residents. Pride and Whitgift House are leading the way in the drive to improve food culture in care settings in the UK.”

Martin Corney, Chief Executive of The Whitgift Foundation, said:We are delighted that our caterers at Whitgift House, Pride, have achieved the Gold Food for Life Catering Mark from the Soil Association. It is vitally important that the award winning care on offer at Whitgift House goes hand in hand with high quality, nutritious and healthy meals for our residents. We are also honoured that Whitgift House is the first ever care home in the UK to receive this prestigious award and this demonstrates our commitment to both  residents’ health and wellbeing and to ethical and locally sourced food. It’s not just our residents that can benefit from Pride’s gold standard meals, we welcome local, elderly residents to join us at our popular weekday Lunch Club.”

Whitgift House is part of, The Whitgift Foundation and has 36 bedrooms for full nursing care as well as 34 warden assisted flats with an on-call alarm.

 

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Emma Rose, Marketing Officer, Soil Association - 0117 914 2414 / erose@soilassociation.org 

Deborah Kenny, Pride Catering Limited: 07769557652/ DeborahKenny@pridecatering.co.uk

 

Catherine Shirley, Marketing and Communications Manager on 020 8256 1579 or email: catherineshirley@whitgiftfoundation.co.uk.

 

Notes to editors

About the Gold Food for Life Catering Mark

 

The Gold Food for Life Catering Mark guarantees that all the issues have been taken care of – health, climate change and animal welfare. More and more, people want to know where their food comes from and how it was produced. The Catering Mark recognises food providers who prepare meals using fresh, seasonal, local and organic ingredients. It provides a guarantee that fresh food you can trust is always on the menu, providing reassurance that the food Pride serves meets high standards of traceability, freshness and provenance.

The Catering Mark is open to all food providers. The Bronze, Silver and Gold tiers recognise caterers who serve more locally produced, healthy and organic food. Caterers with the Gold Catering Mark use at least 15% organic ingredients as well as a selection of ingredients produced locally or in the UK, and offer healthier menus.

The Food for Life Catering Mark Standards are:

Bronze

  • Meals contain no undesirable food additives or hydrogenated fats
  • 75% of dishes are freshly prepared
  • Meat is from farms which satisfy UK welfare standards
  • Eggs are from cage-free hens
  • Menus are seasonal
  • Training is provided for all catering staff
  • No GM ingredients are used
  • Free drinking water is available
  • No endangered fish are served
  • Information about where the food has come from is on display
  • Suppliers meet food safety standards
  • School caterers meet government guidelines for food and nutrition

 

Silver and Gold

The Silver and Gold Catering Mark Standards work on a flexible points system, which rewards every penny spent on ethical, environmentally friendly and local ingredients, and recognises steps to offer healthier menus.

  • At Silver, at least 5% of ingredients are organic and a selection of local or UK produce is served, and a number of steps are taken to make meals healthier.
  • At Gold, at least 15% of ingredients are organic, a significant proportion of the ingredients caterers use must be from the UK or produced locally and further steps are taken to make healthy eating easier.

 

For more information about the Food for Life Catering Mark and a full list of organisations which have achieved it, as well as the latest meal numbers, please see our web pages: www.sacert.org/catering

 

About The Whitgift Foundation

 

The Whitgift Foundation is a registered charity with the aim of providing education for the young and care for the elderly in Croydon and the surrounding areas.

 

Established in 1596 by the former Archbishop of Canterbury John Whitgift, The Whitgift Foundation comprises of:

  • Three schools – Old Palace of John Whitgift (girls), Trinity School (boys with a co-educational sixth form) and Whitgift School (boys).
  • Whitgift Care – three care homes, Whitgift House, Wilhelmina House and the Whitgift Almshouses offering a range of care provision including sheltered accommodation, full nursing care, residential care, respite and day care.
  • The Carers’ Information Service – provides free information, support, advice and training to an estimated 34,000 carers in Croydon and manages the Carers Support Centre, 24 George Street.

 

The Whitgift Foundation currently supports approximately 42% of current pupils in its schools through financial 'means tested' bursaries.  This equates to just over £5million a year to enable talented young people to benefit from the outstanding education provided by the schools.

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