McKechnie awardsSheila McKechnie award winners announced

30 March 2006

A parent who took a leaf out of Jamie Oliver's book to improve local school meals has won the Consumer Action award in the first ever Sheila McKechnie Foundation awards.

Jackie Schneider achieved national acclaim for her campaign, Merton Parents for Better Food in School . It was set up a year ago to persuade her local council, Merton in South London, to provide more nutritious school meals. The council has now acknowledged that that improvements are needed.

Jackie, who is a teacher, won for taking action and achieving improvements for ordinary people. The Consumer Action award was sponsored by Which?, and was one of six different awards given earlier this week by the Sheila McKechnie Foundation.

Sheila McKechnie's legacy

The foundation was set up to honour Sheila McKechnie, who was chief executive of Which?. She died in 2004 after a long fight against cancer. Sheila described herself as 'a fully paid-up member of the awkward squad', and the awards recognise those who aren't afraid to take on big challenges in order to transform people's lives.

The Chancellor, Gordon Brown, who was a friend of Sheila's from their university days, is a patron of the foundation. He said:'Campaigning is a central part of our democracy...I want to empower grassroots activists who don't have the backing of massive networks and paid staff. This is why I support the foundation to give training and advice to a new generation of campaigners...'

The other award winners were:

  • Linda Ramsden, for her work on the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians (Conflict Resolution category)
  • Kierra Box, an Oxford University student, for her Hands-Up for Peace campaign against the war in Iraq (Social Inclusion category)
  • Emily Robinson, a campaigner at Bliss, a charity set up to support the care of new-born babies (Health and Social Care category)
  • Alison Miller, who campaigns for better support for those affected by a road accident abroad. She launched it after her son died in an accident in Spain five years ago (Transport category)
  • Shane Lunga, a Zimbabwean scientist who co-founded a group to lobby the British government for more help to rebuild Zimbabwe (Economic Justice category).

The winners will receive training, support and mentoring from high-profile figures such as Gordon Brown and the broadcaster Jon Snow.