The Lord Mayor of Bristol presented the Gold Food for Life Catering Mark award to chefs Christopher West and Heather Page from Graeme Close Care Home, in Fishponds, Bristol, to recognise the home’s pioneering work in offering ethical, sustainable and fresh food.
It is one of only four care homes in the country to receive the accolade. Only one other care home in the South West has received the gold standard – Mortimer House in Kingswood, Bristol, which is also run by Milestones Trust.
The Catering Mark is an inspected award scheme run by the Soil Association and is an independent endorsement of food quality. It recognises catering establishments which offer food that is ethical, sustainable and fresh, free from additives and transfats and meets nutritional guidelines.
Graeme Close Care Home was initially awarded the bronze standard in 2015 but has now been awarded gold as a result of its commitment to good food, including championing of local food producers, offering seasonal menus and fresh preparation of dishes.
John Hoskinson, CEO of Milestones Trust, said: “Good food is absolutely vital to the quality of people’s lives. The benefits of good nutrition go far beyond physical wellbeing; it helps emotional and mental strength, and mealtimes are an important opportunity for people to enjoy social interactions too.
“That’s why providing good food is fundamental to our service and this award is fantastic recognition of the excellent work carried out at Graeme Close Care Home.”
Two other care homes run by Milestones Trust have received bronze awards – Humphrey Repton House in Bristol and Court Road care home in Kingswood.
Richard Watts, Senior Catering Mark Manager at the Soil Association, said: “Huge congratulations to Graeme Close for achieving a Gold Catering Mark. It represents the vision that they had for their food offering and the incredible amount of work that they have put into achieving that vision. Their actions are leading the way in changing food culture, showing staff, residents and their families that they’re driving to improve health, support better animal welfare, and tackle climate change. Serving menus to Gold Catering Mark standards can also support local businesses and so this is a win-win for planet-friendly food and the local economy. Well done to all involved and thank you for becoming part of the Catering Mark movement.”
Graeme Close Care Home supports people with enduring mental health needs and specialises in supporting residents with dementia and Korsakoff’s Syndrome. The building was purpose built and provides support for 16 adults.
In recent years, the Trust has become known as a pioneer in the care sector for its initiatives in creating good, sustainable and healthy food. Its Good Food programme commits the Trust to serving food that is tasty, healthy, presentable, easy to eat, easy to digest and affordable.
Milestones Trust has developed a bespoke training course for care home cooks with the Square Food Foundation, a Bristol-based cookery school and community kitchen – and the aim is for it to become a UK recognised accredited qualification for care home cooks. It includes practical and theoretical workshops including methods and principles of cooking from scratch, menu planning and in-depth training on how to cook with the different food groups.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Milestones Trust. The charity has a long history of providing care and support to vulnerable people with learning disabilities, mental health needs and dementia in the South West.