Hot lunches: helping Jersey’s schoolchildren to flourish

Welcome to Flourish

We are so proud to introduce Flourish, our pioneering new lunch programme, delivering hot school meals to the schoolchildren of Jersey for the first time ever.

Flourish is the brain child of Caring Cook’s founder and Chief Executive, Melissa Nobrega. Statistics show that as many as 1000 children in Jersey may go without a hot meal every single day due to lack of money or facilities within which to cook. Providing hot meals in schools has been a long time dream of Melissa’s but the process began in earnest over two years ago, when Melissa approached the Government of Jersey to ask for financial support. Since then, Melissa and her team have worked tirelessly to make her dream a reality. On September 4th this year, the first meals were served in Samares school and received a fantastic response from both children, who provided feedback using tokens in a happy or sad face voting box, and parents who shared their delight on Facebook. It was a similar story at Janvrin school the following day as more eager schoolchildren sat down to their first ever hot school meal.

A happy student enjoying chocolate bean chilli and homemade flatbread 🙂

What is Flourish?

Flourish is an ambitious project that seeks to offer hot meals to every school child in Jersey. Hot school lunches have never before been offered by the Island’s schools, we believe to the detriment of children who do not always receive the nutrition they need to concentrate during afternoon lessons, and to the chagrin of parents who are required to make a packed lunch every day, which is both costly and time consuming. There is also a significant environmental impact caused by pack lunches which are often crammed full of single use plastic. A recent experiment conducted in a local school showed that as many as 14, 745 items of single use plastic are thrown away in Jersey every single day as a result of packed lunches.

We are so grateful to the Government of Jersey for believing in our proposal and for supporting us both financially and administratively. Thanks to the Government grant of £200,000 we have been able to fit out our two pilot schools with the equipment necessary to serve the food and are able to run the pilot for two years. The dream is to demonstrate how well our model works, and to roll out the hot lunches to every single school in Jersey.

How does it work?

Our team serving up a roast chicken dinner

Due to the fact that schools in Jersey are not equipped with catering kitchens, Caring Cooks work from a satellite kitchen and deliver meals to our two pilot schools each day. The food is cooked from scratch on a daily basis by our Head Chef, Sarah Copp and her team. Sarah has worked in Michelin Star kitchens and is the proud owner of her own, highly popular, street food van ‘The Chugging Pig’. We are extremely lucky that she has chosen to come and work for us and is as passionate about providing good food to the children of Jersey as the rest of us are.

Once the food is delivered into schools, our enthusiastic team of lunchtime supervisors serve it up to the hungry children.

What food do we serve?

The food we serve is wholesome and nutritionally balanced to ensure the right proportions of protein, dairy, carbohydrates, fruit and veg. We cook everything from scratch using whole foods so we can guarantee no nasties! We have worked closely with the Government dietician who has carefully analysed and approved our menus so that parents can have full confidence that their children are being fed well. We also use an allergy matrix to ensure that every child can be accommodated no matter what their individual needs. We offer a vegetarian option every day of the week and two days of the week, we offer a fully meat free menu.

Beef and butternut stew

What does the future hold?

In our two pilot schools we have the potential to serve as many as 700 children each and every day, our next task is to sign up as many parents as possible. We feel confident that once parents see how enthusiastic the children are about the food, they will be keen to join us. The school meals cost £2.50 each day, unless the child is entitled to free school meals. In this case there is no cost whatsoever to the family.

Following the launch of Flourish we have had interest from parents of children attending other schools on the Island. We are keen to garner the support of headteachers so that we can work towards the possibility of rolling out this project to any child who wants a hot meal at lunchtime over the coming years. We are overwhelmed by the support we have received so far and are delighted to report a really positive start to Flourish.  However, in order enable us to share the lunches far and wide, we need to win support and financial backing to allow us to continue. If your organisation would be interested in offering help to enable us to continue on our journey to feed healthy lunches to the schoolchildren of Jersey then we’d love to hear from you.

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