Kirklees Council’s School Catering Team has been shortlisted in the Best Council Services category at the MJ Awards. The MJ Awards are competitive national awards that recognise excellence and innovation in council service delivery.

The School Catering Team, which numbers over 900 staff and provides over 36,000 meals per day to primary and secondary schools in Kirklees, has been recognised for its efforts to drive inclusion and reduce environmental impact during the pandemic.

Working with pupils, parents and school staff, the team redesigned the school dining experience by developing a food court concept in high schools and enhancing menus for primary school pupils.

Inclusion was a key component of this redesign, with pupils on free school meals having access to all menus at no additional cost. The team has also created a more inclusive environment, working closely with schools to adapt meals to meet the needs of local communities.

They also reduced food waste, packaging and single use items, contributing significantly to the council’s objective to tackle the climate emergency.

Colin Parr, strategic director for Environment & Climate Change, said: “The School Catering Team’s work is crucial to help create an environment beneficial to pupils’ educational achievements.

“Inclusion, tackling the climate emergency, and giving children and teenagers the best possible educational experience are key objectives for the council.

“I’m proud that the team’s drive, to not only maintain the provision of school meals during challenging pandemic times but also to help schools reduce their environmental impact and create a more inclusive dining experience, has been recognised by the MJ Awards.”