New kitchen opens at Richmondshire village primary school

Children are getting their school dinners cooked on site after a new kitchen was built.

School dinners at Eppleby Forcett School, near Richmond, used to be prepared in the village hall and wheeled down the village street to the school. 

But now, thanks to the opening of a proper kitchen the lunches are prepared, cooked and served on the school premises.

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The kitchen was officially opened by Richmond MP Rishi Sunak. 

Executive headteacher Kate Williamson explained that for many years the children walked to the village hall for their lunches because the school had no kitchen facilities. 

After the school became the early years setting for the federation of Eppleby Forcett and Middleton Tyas schools in 2014, it was considered too dangerous to walk the young children, including pre-school pupils, along the village street. 

So school cook Lisa Creer continued to cook the meals in the village hall kitchen and wheeled them down to the school. 

Mrs Williamson said: “Lisa managed to do this in all weathers. In winter months, transporting the hot boxes of food through wind, rain, snow and ice could be quite a challenge.” 

Mr Sunak said the fully equipped kitchen was very impressive given the limited space the school had to work with. The kitchen was created using some space in one of the existing classsrooms. 

He added: “The lunches are clearly delicious as take up is 100 per cent which I suspect isn’t the case at many schools.” 

Mrs Williamson said the kitchen project had been headed up by the school’s business manager Nikki Spink working with North Yorkshire County Council and the first hot two-course meals were served at the beginning of the current academic year. 

The meals were nutritionally balanced and used local produce as much as possible.