Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Learning disability catering project win food quality awards

Catering CrewA project that teaches people with learning disabilitiescatering and business skills has won two awards for the quality of its food.

The Catering Crew has been awarded a Food Hygiene Rating ofFive-Very Good with Bath and North East Somerset Council and a Gold Eat OutEat Well Award.

Food Hygiene Ratings help consumers choose where to eat outor shop for food by giving them information about the hygiene standards inrestaurants, cafés, takeaways, hotels and food shops. The ratings are organisedby the Food Standards Agency and local authorities.

The Eat Out Eat Well scheme rewards food outlets thatprovide their customers with healthier choices. It has three levels – bronze,silver, and gold.

The Catering Crew, which is based in the Connections DayService in Radstock, Somerset, and run by service provider Sirona, providesbuffets for corporate companies as well as wedding and christening partiesacross the local area.

Richard Holland, Sirona’s project officer with The CateringCrew, said: “To quote one of the Crew members ‘I think we have all done verywell and we have done our best and it means a lot to me to receive a FiveRating and a Gold Award’.

“We are very proud of these achievements and pleased to showhow well people with learning disabilities can excel with the right support andencouragement.”

The Catering Crew was established in the mid-1990s when fourday service users were asked to prepare vegetarian food for a group’s regularmeeting. From this, the group took their catering skills into the community andstarted to prepare food for local companies and events.

There are now 7 regular members of the Catering Crew. “Mealsare produced in our specially designed catering facilities and are deliveredand served to customers as required,” adds Holland. “The Crew continues toimprove their practical and business skills from menu design to full provisionof outside catering services at customers’ venues.

“They participate in control of the business accounting anddeveloping, and each member is paid a session fee for their work with TheCatering Crew.

“The vision of The Catering Crew is to expand the businessto suit the developing needs and skills of each Crew member and to continue toprovide quality foods and a profitable business.

“We also seek to become a training establishment fordisabled people and other socially disadvantaged people to enable them to seekopen market employment.”

Councillor David Dixon, Bath and North East SomersetCouncil’s cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: “These awards demonstratetheir commitment to offering foods that are lower in sugar and fat and salt,and which are prepared in a hygienic environment – making them a really healthychoice. Congratulations to everyone involved.”

Louise Lees, Sirona’s health improvement specialist, said:“It is a fantastic achievement and is testament to the talent and skill of allthe staff at The Catering Crew’ in offering healthy choices as part of thecatering services they provide. Often at weddings or corporate events peoplehave no choice but to eat the food on offer. The Catering Crew offer realchoice for their customers – congratulations to the whole team.”

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