Children's Food Trust to close

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The Children's Food Trust, which introduced the first nutritional guidelines for early years settings, has announced today it is to close.

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The charity was behind the launch of national school food standards in primary schools

A message posted on the charity's website today (21 July) states, '[It is] with great sadness the Children's Food Trust has announced it is to close. The Trust can reflect on a fantastic legacy having made a genuine and positive contribution to improve children's health and well-being in the UK'

linda-creganChief executive of the Children’s Food Trust, Linda Cregan, explains, '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.'

The charity, formerly known as The School Food Trust, was set up in 2005 by the Department for Education and Skills with £15 million of funding. It's purpose was to improve children's health by transforming food in schools.

In 2006, the charity led the launch of the national school food standards in primary schools, then in secondary schools in 2007. In the same year it secured £20m of Big Lottery funding to begin its Let's Get Cooking programme - creating 5,000 cooking clubs.

In 2012, the Children's Food Trust was responsible for introducing food and drink guidelines for early years settings in England.

Nursery World reported a year later that the charity's Government funding was coming to an end.

More recently, the charity together with the Department for Education and Public Health England, created new early years menus, which are awaiting publication.

It is unclear whether the closure of the Children's Food Trust will affect the publication of the early years menus and their delivery. Nursery World has contacted the Department for Education for clarification.

A statement on the charity's website from its chief exeucitve goes on to say, '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.

'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.'

Commenting on the charity's closure, Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-School Learning Alliance, said, 'We are saddened to learn the news that the Children’s Food Trust is to close its doors. The Alliance has been involved with the CFT for a number of years and has always supported the organisation’s excellent work improving the wellbeing of children in the early years.

'The loss of this charity will be keenly felt by colleagues across the sector. However, the collective drive and passion of all those who worked for the Children’s Food Trust will having a lasting, positive effect on children’s health in the United Kingdom and the organisation’s legacy should not be underestimated.'

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