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School caterer with Chartwells receives award for ‘outstanding contribution’ to industry

26 Apr 2023
Lorraine Burgess, operations manager at Chartwells, has been recognised for her outstanding contribution to the education catering industry after receiving the business’ Long Service award at a special ceremony at Henwick Primary School in Eltham.

The award recognises her 40-year-long service to school catering. Beginning her career as a frontline caterer, Lorraine has played a 'significant role' in transforming school catering in Greenwich and the surrounding areas.

In 2021, Lorraine was appointed to operations manager for Chartwells, and since then has been instrumental in the introduction and delivery of the Holiday Feeding programme. Launched last summer, across seven schools in the local community, the programme offers free lunch to pupils during the school holidays to ensure every child is given the opportunity to access healthy, nutritious meals.

Speaking about the award, Lorraine said: “I always knew I wanted to cook, as well as work with children, and this is the reason why I started my career in school catering 40 years ago. I love coming into work to see the smiles on the pupils faces, and it is a true blessing that I am able to serve these bright, shining stars nutritious, healthy meals every day.

“As I have grown in my role as a school caterer, it has been incredible to work with likeminded people to deliver exceptional quality food, education, and support to our pupils. It is an honour to be presented this award. It is important for children of all ages to learn about healthy eating and we hope to inspire them to enjoy cooking throughout their lives.”

The Holiday Feeding Programme food, which is freshly prepared and served daily by Chartwells, is provided free of charge to help support pupils and families facing increasing financial pressure due to the cost of living crisis.

James Wilkie, head of operations at Chartwells, added: “Lorraine is a shining example of what makes our industry so great. She truly cares about the children we serve and goes above and beyond to fuel their learning. The school food sector has changed immeasurable since Lorraine first started working, with school food now packed with nutrition.

“Thanks to the innovation of people like Lorraine, the industry has been able to make this positive step forward, as well as embracing and driving initiatives, such as the HAF programme. Through the work and dedication of our amazing team, we are committed to supporting young people in developing a positive relationship with food, and we understand the need to help those in education build strong bodies, sharp minds, and embrace impactful dietary and lifestyle behaviours that last a lifetime.”