England

Children's Food Trust charity to close after funding stops

A woman showing four children how to chop red peppers Image copyright Mike Poloway
Image caption The Children's Food Trust said it had given more than 11 million children "access to better food"

A national charity which aims to improve children's health and nutrition is to close at the end of September.

The Children's Food Trust (CFT), based in Sheffield, has been offering cookery courses and nutritional advice in schools and nurseries in England, Wales and Scotland for more than 10 years.

A lack of funding has forced it to shut with the loss of 47 jobs, 31 of those in Sheffield, the charity says.

Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson said it was "very sad".

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Charity 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."

Image copyright Roger Moody
Image caption The charity said it would no longer be able to run cookery courses or provide nutritional advice in schools and nurseries

On social media, Labour MP Ms Hodgson, shadow minister for public health, said: "Very sad news. The @ChildFoodTrust has done amazing work over the years to improve children's health & education. Thank you to all at CFT!"

The charity was set up in 2005 with a £15m grant from the government. Two years later it was awarded £20m by the Big Lottery Fund.

It has also received funding from a number of organisations and companies, including supermarket chains, for fixed-term projects.

More than 11 million children had had "access to better food" since the charity started its work, the trust said.

It said the closure meant "there won't be cooking courses in 5,000 schools anymore and our nutritionists won't be on hand to help and advise school, nursery and early years caterers, as well as families and carers".

Adam Starkey, chair of trustees at the CFT, added: "We still face a crisis in child health. Now more than ever, work in this area is vital."

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