FSA pays homageFSA food awards commemorate Sheila McKechnie

11 April 2006

Two initiatives which provide healthy food in deprived areas have won the Food Standards Agency's annual Dame Sheila McKechnie Awards.

The FSA established the awards in 2004 to commemorate the contribution that Sheila - former director of Which? - made in helping to set up the Food Standards Agency.

A lifelong consumer champion, Sheila was one of the most effective and influential campaigners of her generation and made an enormous contribution to people's rights through her work with Shelter and Which? (formerly Consumers' Association). She died in 2004 after years of living with cancer.

North Glasgow Community Food Initiative

The North Glasgow Community Food Initiative (NGCFI) and The Sunshine Cafe in Manchester were selected from more than 53 applications from across the UK.

The NGCFI operates in one of Scotland's poorest and most disadvantaged areas. As north Glasgow is currently a key area for the dispersal of asylum seekers, the NGCFI was set up to provide a cost-price fruit and vegetable co-op service for asylum seekers and the whole community.

Alongside the food co-op, NGCFI runs a healthy kids club, cookery sessions, weaning classes and a volunteer project providing dedicated recruitment, support and training for volunteers.

Sunshine Cafe

The Sunshine Cafe food initiative opened in April 2003. There's a cafe that offers healthy and affordable food on an ongoing basis for residents of the Sale estates, and a catering business that delivers buffets to local organisations. The aim of the catering business is to raise sufficient money to enable the cafe to continue.

Both initiatives will receive GBP 15,000 over three years to help develop and expand.

Julia Unwin, FSA Deputy Chair, said: 'Sheila was an outspoken campaigner who worked incredibly hard to champion the rights of consumers to tackle the problems of poverty.

'She would have been particularly proud to see her name associated with both [the schemes] as she was passionate about providing food access and food education for all.'

The FSA's awards are separate from those recently given by the Sheila McKechnie Foundation - see below.