Children's Food Trust

Children's Food Trust
Formation 2005
Legal status Charity
Purpose Works with childcare providers, schools, local authorities, community organisations and industry to improve the food that children eat
Region served
Adam Starkey, Linda Cregan
Main organ
Affiliations The Prince's Trust, Local Authority Catering Association

The Children's Food Trust (formerly the School Food Trust, renamed in 2012) is a charity in the United Kingdom that aims to protect every child's right to eat healthily.[1]


The Trust was created as a non-departmental public body in 2005 by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES), following celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's critique of the nutritional quality of school meals in his TV documentary Jamie's School Dinners and the recommendations of the School Meals Review Panel.[2] It had been found that standards of school food were low, with average ingredient spend per meal before 2005 at secondary schools at around 40p. Childhood obesity is a problem in the UK in specific demographic groups (see National Statistics Socio-economic Classification), with some medical professionals predicting that today's youngsters will have a lower life expectancy than their parents with problems with diabetes and heart disease.

In April 2007, the Trust also became a registered charity.[3] In October 2011, the Trust officially ceased to be an NDPB,[4] expanding its work both as a charity and by trading its services through a new community interest company, as the Children's Food Trust.

The Trust now works beyond education settings as a source of advice and support for any organisation providing food to children or wanting to improve healthy cooking skills, with a dedicated research programme.


The trust is structured as a company limited by guarantee. It was initially governed by a board appointed by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, and managed on a day-to-day basis by an executive team. However, as part of the move away from being an arms length body of the Government the Trust has established an entirely new board.[5] Dame Suzi Leather was appointed as the first Chair of the trust, but resigned a year later when appointed as Chair of the Charity Commission. Baroness Maggie Jones was appointed interim Chair in August 2006.[6]

In November 2006, Prue Leith was named as the chair.[7][8]

In January 2010, Rob Rees was named as the chair after Prue Leith retired her position.[9][10]

In August 2015, Adam Starkey was named as the chair.

Research Programme

The Trust's research programme is led by Dr Michael Nelson, Kings College. Publications include:

A summary of the Trust's research can be downloaded.


The trust was initially funded by a £15 million grant from the Department for Education and Skills, and has been awarded in partnership with organisations including The Prince's Trust, Business in the Community, Magic Outcomes and the Improvement Foundation, £20 million additional funding from the Big Lottery Fund for a network of school children's cookery clubs called Let's Get Cooking.[17][18]


Let’s Get Cooking

The Let's Get Cooking programme was created with the aim of establishing a national network of clubs to give children and non-cooking parents of all ages the skills and confidence to cook nutritious and tasty meals from scratch. It has gone on to create more than 5,000 clubs in England, reaching more than 3 million people with healthy cooking activities. An evaluation of its impact was published in 2012, finding that more than half of participants (58%) reported to eat a healthier diet after taking part and 92% reporting to use their new skills again at home.[19] The programme is growing in scope to provide training, support and resources for setting up and running healthy cooking activities for people of all ages.

Let's Get Cooking Community Interest Company (CIC)

The Let's Get Cooking CIC is the trading subsidiary of the Children’s Food Trust charity. Let’s Get Cooking at Work is their flagship product. It provides organisations with an engaging and entertaining solution to a number of team building and workplace health and well-being needs. It combines hands-on cooking, professional support and valuable resources and can be used as part of your wider workplace well-being initiatives or as an inspiring team building programme.

The Let's Get Cooking CIC donates 100% of its profits to its parent charity, the Children's Food Trust.


  1. "About the Trust". Children's Food Trust. Retrieved 2013-01-16.
  2. School Meals Review Panel
  3. Charity Commission. Children's Food Trust, registered charity no. 1118995.
  4. "Department for Education announcement: DfE to close arm's length bodies to improve accountability". Department for Education. 14 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-21.
  5. "School Food Trust Board". School Food Trust. Retrieved 2013-01-16.
  6. "Baroness Maggie Jones takes the Chair of the School Food Trust". School Food Trust. 1 August 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-09-28.
  7. Alexandra Smith (9 November 2006). "Prue Leith to head healthy school meals campaign". Education Guardian. Retrieved 2010-06-30.
  8. "Prue Leith appointed Chair of the School Food Trust". School Food Trust. 9 November 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-01-06. Retrieved 2007-01-06.
  9. "New role for Rob as Trust's new chair". School Food Trust. 1 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-30.
  10. Prue Leith (20 January 2010). "Prue Leith's departing words as she steps down from the School Food Trust". School Food Trust. Archived from the original on 27 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-30.
  11. Children's Food Trust annual school meals surveys Archived 17 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. The impact of nutritional standards for school meals in England Archived 5 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. Findings of the Advisory Panel for Early Years Food and Nutrition Archived 5 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. School meals versus packed lunches in England Archived 17 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  15. links with improving diet and tackling obesity Archived 17 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  16. School food and behaviour studies Archived 17 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  17. Chris Druce (23 February 2007). "School Food Trust looks to National Lottery for cookery club funding". Caterer Search. Retrieved 2010-06-30.
  18. "Lottery gives gastro-grant". School Food Trust. 18 July 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-08-21. Retrieved 2007-08-21.
  19. Let's Get Cooking evaluation, 2012

News items

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