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Local hotel group looks to improve Keswick School food technology kitchen

Dani Hope and Kit Graves (Directors of Lake District Hotels), Simon Jackson (Head Master of Keswick School and Gary Price (General Manager at the Kings Arms Hotel)

[O]ver the last couple of years, Lake District Hotels Ltd, a group of seven family owned hotels (the Lodore Falls Hotel and the Borrowdale Hotel, located in the pretty Borrowdale valley, the Inn on the Square, the Skiddaw Hotel and the Kings Arms Hotel in Keswick, the Inn on the Lake in Ullswater and the George Hotel in Penrith) has introduced a charity of the year to their business module. First put to practise in 2016 by supporting Amy’s Care, the hotel group raised just over £8,000, this then continued into 2017 where an outstanding £11,426 was handed over to Blood Bikes Cumbria.

The hotel group believes that building long-term relationships with their charities, helps to create a strong bond which enables the two parties to achieve greater results together. With close connections to Keswick School, they would like to put their 2018 fundraising activities towards updating the food technology kitchen within the school. The first step is to put a plan in place to identify the full cost of improving the kitchen, from here Lake District Hotels will work with the school to help raise money to build a new food demonstration area within the class, making it more effective and more engaging for the children, with the aim to encourage more students to take up careers within the hospitality industry. The full kitchen plan is likely to be a long term project that can then be handed back to the school for continued development in the future.

Keswick School is one of the most recognised schools in the North of England. A national teaching school with a reputation for excellence, the school is rated as outstanding under every category by Ofsted. Yet despite the accolades and consistently high student achievement, the school is under enormous pressure following years of successive funding cuts. Therefore, partnerships with the community are vital for the future of the school.

With over 1,230-day students and 50 boarding students from across the world, Keswick School has a unique international dimension. Attracted by a blend of traditional values, innovative teaching and extra-curricular opportunity, students are confident, friendly and distinctive. Qualities which give them a great start for their future careers.

Dani Hope, Marketing Director for Lake District Hotels commented, “As a responsible business, part of our ethos is to support the local community, so it’s a great privilege to be in a position where we can help Keswick School. I myself, along with a large percentage of our employees attended school here, so it’s a special place for many of us. We plan to hold various fundraising activities throughout the year, on top of this our talented chefs will visit the school to give the children simple tuition classes.”

An important part of school life is a broad and balanced curriculum which caters to the needs and interests of a diverse student population. In the current climate the Government policy has marginalised technology, a sector of the economy in which the UK has a world class reputation. One area that has seen a complete lack of investment is food technology.

Mr Jackson, Head Master at Keswick School commented, “Food technology is taught to students in years 7, 8 and 9. Practical cooking sessions are the main part of these lessons, students learn to use a variety of cooking techniques whilst making and developing a range of good healthy food, safely and hygienically.

“In years 10 and 11 students can choose to study hospitality and catering or food preparation and nutrition qualifications with many students choosing a career in the food industry once they have left school. However, all of this is undertaken in less than ideal facilities. Cookers and sinks are often overcrowded and some equipment is well past its best. Without any spare funding to improve the situation and no grant funding available, the future for food technology is a concern.

“It is therefore with enormous delight that we look forward to working in partnership with Lake District Hotels Ltd. to help sustain this essential subject over the next year and into the future.”

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