Sheffield-based charity Children's Food Trust to close due to lack of funding

James Dickens learning to cook healthy, tasty food from scratch with the Children's Food Trust and The Eat Happy Project at Tesco's Extra on Spital Hill in 2016
James Dickens learning to cook healthy, tasty food from scratch with the Children's Food Trust and The Eat Happy Project at Tesco's Extra on Spital Hill in 2016
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A Sheffield-based charity which aims to improve children's health and nutrition is to close.

The Children's Food Trust has been offering cookery courses and nutritional advice in schools and nurseries across the UK for more than 10 years.

A lack of funding is forcing the charity to close in September with many of the 47 staff expected to lose their jobs, including the 31 based in Sheffield.

As part of its work the charity, which was originally set up in 2005 after a school dinner campaign was run by the TV chef Jamie Oliver, has created the Let's Go Cooking club network, supported schools in England to get ready for the universal free school meals and taught thousands of children and parents to get cooking in the school holidays.

Chief executive Linda Cregan said: “Given the political and economic climate all charities are facing difficulties and we are no different.

"We remain passionate and dedicated to improving child health but it has proved impossible to continue to deliver our services and extremely reluctantly the trustees have chosen to close the trust. It is our priority at this point to speak to all our funders and partners to ensure a smooth transition and a positive legacy.

Children's Food Trust chief executive Linda Cregan

Children's Food Trust chief executive Linda Cregan

“We are all very proud of the contribution we have made to the real positive differences in child health in the UK.

"We’d like to thank our supporters and staff for their dedication over the past 10 years, without whom, the great strides forwards we’ve made in improving children’s diets simply would not have happened.”

“Because of the frameworks we have put in place in schools and early years settings, over 11 million children have access to better food.

"Families have benefited immeasurably from our Let’s Get Cooking programme, both from the skills our team have given people and from the recipes and resources made available to them.

Shania Hastings and Elahna Hastings learning to cook healthy, tasty food from scratch with the Children's Food Trust and The Eat Happy Project at Tesco's Extra on Spital Hill in 2016

Shania Hastings and Elahna Hastings learning to cook healthy, tasty food from scratch with the Children's Food Trust and The Eat Happy Project at Tesco's Extra on Spital Hill in 2016

“We have contributed hugely to ensuring the environment children grow up in is becoming healthier, by campaigning for measures on advertising unhealthy food, placement in supermarkets and most recently the tax on sugary drinks.

"Our collaboration with multiple stakeholders to carry out this great work has been incredible, so we ask them now to pick up the baton and not rest up on improving child health.”

Chairman of trustees Adam Starkey, added: “It is with a heavy heart that we have had to make the decision to close the Children’s Food Trust.

"We can be very proud of the work we have done but there is much more to do. We still face a crisis in child health, now more than ever, work in this area is vital.

“We urge everybody to ensure that action to improve children’s diet and the standard of the food they eat does not lose pace.

"Government, food producers and food retailers must make a commitment to researching what works, creating approaches and policies that have an impact, and campaigning to change behaviours that get children to eat well. Investment is needed so that organisations intent on improving child health can pick up the baton and continue our great work.”