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School dinners have never tasted so good!

Dorset catering company, Local Food Links (LFL), has served up millions of school meals since it was founded in 2006 and has recently moved into brand new business premises at Unit C7, Link Park in Chickerell, Weymouth creating 7 full time local jobs.

The unit has been equipped to a very high specification under the close and considerate eye of Landlord and WPCC member DJ Property.  Mickey Jones, Chief Executive of DJ Property said “I am delighted to welcome yet another great business to Link Park.  I have really enjoyed working with Caroline and her team making sure that all aspects of the new kitchen and offices are fitted out to the highest specification and using energy efficient solutions.  The 3rd phase of Link Park is now fully tenanted and phase 4 will start at the beginning of 2019 bringing more national businesses to South Dorset.”

Local Food Links Ltd is serving around half a million freshly prepared hot school meals every year to 50 schools across Dorset, Devon and Somerset from four kitchens based in Bridport,  Blandford, Shillingstone and now Weymouth.  The new Weymouth kitchen now brings the total to 4 kitchens with the ability of serving up to 15 additional schools in South Dorset.

Currently the company is a community owned social enterprise organisation and therefore the funding for a new Weymouth kitchen required an application to various organisations for both grant and loan assistance.   Funding for the project came from CAF Venturesome and to the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation for a grant together with a further grant from the Dorset Business Growth Fund.

Chief Executive of Local Food Links, Caroline Morgan said “We are really delighted to have a brand new purpose built kitchen in Link Park.  The kitchen has been built to enable Local Food Links to work with a further 15 schools and this commenced in September 2018.  We now provide hot lunches to 50 schools and the new kitchen will allow us to continue working with local suppliers to feed children well.  We are very grateful to Mickey Jones and his team for all their support during the building of the kitchen and their continuing support as we familiarise ourselves in our new surroundings.  Link Park is a smart estate in a good location and we are very pleased to have our flagship kitchen there.”

Research shows that children are able to concentrate better after a hot school meal especially in the afternoon. Schools have told Local Food Links that children are often better behaved, calmer more able to concentrate after they have eaten a cooked lunch.  All meals follow strict School Food Standards and are packed full of healthy goodness.  Local Food Links use fresh, locally sourced ingredients and always include extra vegetables at every opportunity.

Veronique Singer, Headteacher at Radipole Primary School in Weymouth said   “We are very happy in the knowledge that our children have had a healthy, well-balanced meal, enabling them to be ready to learn in the afternoon.  They really enjoy having a delicious hot meal every day.”

Almost 100% of DJ Property’s units on the Granby Industrial Estate, Lynch Lane Industrial Estate and Link Park are currently occupied, but DJ Property has an ongoing development pipeline to keep up with future demand.  Buildings at Link Park and many on Granby Industrial Estate are amongst the highest quality available in South Dorset, often benefitting from reduced cost solar PV generated electricity.

PHOTO: Mickey Jones Chief Executive of DJ Property with Caroline Morgan Chief Executive of Local Food Links Ltd at the new Weymouth office

Paul Appleby
Author: Paul Appleby