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All posts by Edwina Revel

Interview with CWT Media Campaigner of the Year 2020

Edwina Revel and Georgia Leech are on a mission to improve the health and wellbeing of children and their families. Both Registered Nutritionists with the Association for Nutrition, the team, provide nutrition training for those working in the early years to ensure a consistent approach to delivering key nutrition messages to meet the diverse needs of families.

The team have supported early year’s settings to put nutrition at the heart of their practice from reviewing menus to meet national guidelines and providing training to ensure staff are equipped to support children to achieve a healthy weight, to reduce their risk of dental caries and to promote physical activity.

As public health nutritionists, the team at Early Start Nutrition are passionate about ensuring all children have access to nutritious and affordable food. They believe that giving children the best start in life is the most effective way to address health inequalities by establishing healthy eating habits to take with them into their school years.  Their work comprises support services for children, families and training for health professionals.  They have also developed online tools and work to engage audiences through their social media accounts, enabling them to reach a wider audience, including training of 2,000 Early Years practitioners and health professionals.

How did you feel when you found out you were awarded Media Campaigner of the Year?

Winning an award from The Caroline Walker Trust is a career highlight for the team. As a Registered Nutritionist, it’s been a great way to raise awareness of our work and the importance of communicating messages in a way that supports those we work with to build their knowledge and confidence

What is your advice to other media campaigners?

Media provides a fantastic opportunity to talk about key nutrition topics. It’s a great tool to share positive and practical information to support those you are trying to reach. Planning is key, as is ensuring the information you share is evidence-based and within the remit of your expertise. Know your audience and tailor your resources to meet their needs.

What has been the most rewarding part of your role?

As early years nutritionists, we are so fortunate to work with nursery settings, along with a range of other professionals and of course, families too! Our job is extremely varied; one day, we can be delivering training and the next, we can be writing a blog and creating recipes. It’s really nice to feel that we’re making a difference to the children and families we work with.

What have you gained from the award Media Campaigner of the Year?

The award has helped raise the team’s profile, meaning we’ve reached more families and early year’s professionals. It’s also given us the confidence to further develop our media resources.

How did you celebrate when you found out you won CWT Media Campaigner of the Year?

As we received the award in the middle of a pandemic, we raised a glass over a zoom call. We are looking forward to celebrating with our colleagues soon!

You can read more about Early Start Nutrition award winning work on their CWT Media Campaigner of the Year page 

Interview by Michelle Slater
Registered Nutritionist
CWT Annual Awards Committee Member

© 2021 The Caroline Walker Trust

Interview with CWT Freelance Nutritionist of the Year 2020

Lucy Williamson originally trained and qualified as a Veterinary Surgeon. She later went on to complete a Masters in Nutrition, registered, became a Registered Nutritionist and set up her own Freelance Nutrition Consultancy, combining her love of agriculture and farming with food and health.

As part of her freelance consultancy work, Lucy developed Food LINKS; a project that aims to provide affordable evidence-based nutrition support to help communicate the health benefits of British produce.  Food LINKS creates opportunities for producers to diversity as they seek to adapt to changing food recommendations for public and environmental health.  Lucy works with crop producers as well as building up consumer awareness that dairy, beef and responsibly sourced fish all have a key role as part of a sustainable, balanced diet.  As an experienced vet, Lucy stands out as a freelance Nutritionist with a firm understanding of our agricultural systems and, therefore, the inextricable link between British food with its well-regulated high production standards and public health.

How did you feel when you found out you were awarded the Freelance Nutritionist of the Year award?

I’m just overjoyed to have been given this award that recognises the importance of communicating the value of our fabulous British food for our future health and the passion of those producing it at the start of the food chain. This Year I have learnt more than ever the value of working collaboratively to achieve more, especially when working freelance. I’m proud to be part of our profession reaching out together to inspire better health, and I look forward to forging stronger links between producers, consumers and good food. I can’t thank the Caroline Walker Trust enough for this opportunity.

What is your advice to other freelance nutritionists?

Surround yourself with other people taking similar paths to share and bounce ideas from one another. It can be quite lonely, giving you confidence in connecting with others and not feeling like you’re competing. Use each other to achieve what you want to achieve, e.g. more effectively, quickly or to make it more enjoyable. Connect and collaborate – we are so much stronger together.

What has been the most awarding part of your role as a freelance nutritionist?

Reaching out to the public is something I’ve always enjoyed doing and to be able to share helpful evidence-based information on nutrition. Being able to share that is something I’ve always wanted to do but the award has helped me to find a platform and a voice.

What have you gained from the award Freelance Nutritionist of the Year?

I have gained confidence and belief that the path I took was the right one to take. I’ve also gained focus on my work, and the award has validated this and help spread the word about the work that I do, such working in schools, lecturing and with food producers, which is really novel.

What are the benefits of being recognised by CWT as an inspirational freelance nutritionist?

It gives you the confidence to keep working on new ideas. Being freelance is not an easy route to take, but it’s great that my work and ideas have been recognised and that all the hard work is worth it. Being recognised by the award has also allowed me to connect and work with others.

How did you celebrate when you found out you won Freelance Nutritionist of the Year?

I spent the evening with my family with a glass of Kombucha, followed by some champagne and a big cake! My children were aged 9 and 12 when I went back to university to complete my masters in Nutrition, it was a tough time for my family, who has always supported me, so I was so pleased to share this with them to show them how grateful I was for their support.

What has been your biggest challenge as a freelance nutritionist?

The biggest challenge for me was not being part of a team, so that’s why it is so important to surround yourself the people in a similar field, so you have support.

How did you overcome these challenges?

I was a mentor for a master’s graduate and since have employed her to work a couple of days a week, so it is great to be working in a team environment again. I always find it is more fun and rewarding working with others.

You can read more about Lucy’s award winning work on her Freelance Nutritionist of the Year page

Interview by Michelle Slater
Registered Nutritionist
CWT Annual Awards Committee Member

© 2021 The Caroline Walker Trust

Interview with CWT Food Campaigner of the Year 2020 (joint winner)

Feeding Britain works through partnerships with food banks, local community organisations, politicians and companies to develop, trial, evaluate, and submit as policy recommendations initiatives that prevent, relieve, and abolish hunger, malnutrition, and food security in the United Kingdom.

Their projects aim to help those facing barriers to nutritious food, on the grounds of accessibility or affordability, to overcome them with dignity and without stigma.  Projects include Citizen’s Supermarkets, Children’s Kitchens, Pathways from Poverty and Healthy Holidays.  Each project uses good food as a catalyst for improving people’s overall health and wellbeing – in households covering the entire age spectrum and for tackling poverty in a holistic manner.

Feeding Britain is also extremely successful in gaining favourable policy changes from the Government regarding social security, labour market, cost of living, and children’s nutrition policies.

How did you feel when you found out you were awarded Charity Food Campaigner of the Year?

It was a brilliant surprise in the best way possible. It was the coupling of the award with the results we were beginning to see over a period of time that really enabled our team to raise a smile and say against the most challenging backdrop we and our entire network has faced, we have achieved special things, and that was very pleasing to feel that and communicate as a team.

What is your advice to other charity food campaigners?

I always seek our movement and charity to be radical of its goals and pragmatic in the means of achieving those goals. Seeking innovative and, above all else, workable projects, programs and policies, to move us along the road to that broader societal change. My main bit of advice would be, don’t lose sight of the bigger picture, and think about what you can do today to change someone’s life even if its a small idea that can make a difference to disadvantage families along the way.

What has been the most rewarding part of your role as a charity food campaigner?

In particular, our work around holiday food provision; it was six years ago this summer the very first regional part of feeding Britain, feeding Birkenhead took place, the food bank showed us the most alarming data on what happens to children and families during the school holidays.

Feeding Birkenhead, we all came together as a community: church, learning centres, and libraries; all these wonderful community assets came together, and we lay on the most entertaining program of activities and meals, and this was a way to carry on school meals for low-income families.

Immediately we began to see the results, and the foodbank reported fewer families with children needing their help as a result. The teachers said the kids were returning to school full of life, more energised and ready to learn; they had stories to tell their mates about activities through feeding, so Birkenhead, we knew we were onto something both popular and effective.

We knew if the feeding Britain network grew geographically, this became a flagship national scheme and then to translate that into a policy recommendation and subsequently into a piece of backbench legislation which then ultimately succeeded in getting a commitment from the government that they would invest taxpayers money in a national program of this sort.

For our staff and volunteers, it showed that we were a part of something special. It gave us that relief, supporting immediate hunger and reintroducing the love of fresh and nutritious food for children and their families.

What have you gained from the award Charity Food Campaigner of the Year?

It really cemented the sense of our grass-root partners across the country that in undertaking day to day activities, they are also contributing to a movement that had been recognised and achieving really good systemic changes across the county. It’s their efforts that made this award possible, it’s worth our while being a part of this national movement because of what we are doing, being recognised in such a special way.

What are the benefits of being recognised by CWT as an inspirational Charity Food Campaigner of the Year?

The most immediate benefit was seeing the smile on the faces of our team; they plough away at this work day in and day out, so to see them simile when I shared the news that was the most incredible part. Secondary with the Caroline Walker trust we have the most brilliant organisation with an esteem group of people taking the time not only to learn about our work but to recognise our collective effort in such a way it adds to sense of motivation that one might not be barking up the wrong tree when we’re going about our day to day business.

How did you celebrate when you found out you won Charity Food Campaigner of the Year?

Me personally, I celebrated by sharing the news with the team; that was celebratory enough for me. Well, in a sense, it was a delayed reaction the wonderful certificate and award arrived in the post, and our team got together in our office and made sure upon unwrapping them to give them pride of place so when we’re at our desks, it’s firmly in the line of sight.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Above all else our organisation aims to offer an effective service that not only relives that immediate need but constantly seeks new innovative ways to prevent it and support children and families. Against any backdrop, that’s a challenge, and for any organisation, that is a challenge. The logistical changes in the past Year and ongoing trends, e.g. cost of materials, sourcing food that we need to offer a good service for families, has been difficult.

How did you overcome these challenges?

It’s thanks to the ingenuity of both our team and the whole network in constantly sharing good practice. Identifying things that work in one area then overcoming challenges to replicate them in another part of the county, that’s the blessing we have in an organisation like ours.

We have people in a network that can prepare a solution or have already done so and share the lessons of that. From our very first days at Feeding Britain we have drawn the collective firepower of voluntary and community sector but also local business, national companies and local and national government, so bringing that whole variety of voices into this common movement, we can all learn from and bring different perspectives that perhaps wouldn’t of occurred to us before which can help us now craft solutions.

Our doors are always open to anyone who shares our purpose, principles and wants to achieve what we want to achieve; yes were a national movement, but we are made up of local and regional partnerships which help bring people around the table who are concerned about their neighbours or people in their towns, cities, district or borough, and that can be a good focal point to get people involved to support children and families.

You can find more information about Andrew’s award-winning Feeding Britain on their Charity Campaigner of the Year Page

Interview by Michelle Slater
Registered Nutritionist
CWT Annual Awards Committee Member

© 2021 The Caroline Walker Trust

Interview with CWT Food Campaigner of the Year 2020 (joint winner)

Five years ago, Hannah Style, RD, became concerned about the rising malnutrition in North London and founded FEAST With Us, a registered charity to provide vulnerable individuals with access to food.  She wanted to create a supportive space where those also suffering from food poverty could get a hearty meal while also learning how to cook with others.

She also wanted to provide a platform for vulnerable adults to engage regularly with nutrition, aiming to ameliorate the negative health consequences of food insecurity in the short term, and food illiteracy in the long term.  FEAST With Us provides a safe, social space where vulnerable adults can cook and eat together, a unique opportunity for marginalised individuals to benefit from the dignity of food choice, the opportunity to learn cooking skills and nutrition theory and develop confidence in the kitchen.

How did you feel when you found out you were awarded Charity Food Campaigner of the Year?

Honoured and humbled, it is a privilege to be acknowledged by a pioneering and prestigious body that has paved the way for nutritional guidelines for various vulnerable groups. Eager to enhance our partnership and build guidelines for homeless people together, it would be great to learn from CWT about how to establish nutritional guidelines safely and robustly for this population group. I would like to learn how to inform policy-makers effectively.

What is your advice to other Charity Food Campaigners?

Collaboration is key! Learning from each other and sharing best practices and learning with each other is the best way forward. Fill in for each other and don’t compete; collaborate.

What has been the most rewarding part of your role as a Charity Food Campaigner?

Knowing that food poverty prevention initiatives are being recognised as increasingly important and that the wider community is doing something to ameliorate this growing problem.

What have you gained from the award Charity Food Campaigner of the Year?

The network of similar initiatives in the field – would be great to be routinely connected, form a food poverty alliance, and work alongside each other to share best-practice and updates. Would be good for CWT to build the network and lead with nutrition guidelines that can be disseminated across diverse regions and settings. Nutrition focus is key, so many charities don’t have this focus, and it would be great to imprint the nutrition stamp and embed it for all stakeholders.

What are the benefits of being recognised by CWT as an inspirational Charity Food Campaigner of the Year?

The recognition amongst interested initiatives and morale boost for the workforce and volunteers are enormously helpful to us. Being part of the network and welcomed into a community with whom we share values.

How did you celebrate when you found out you won Charity Food Campaigner of the Year?

I congratulated the team for their efforts and suggested that when lockdown lifts, we can all celebrate in person!

What has been your biggest challenge, and how have you overcome it?

Limiting the number of volunteers in the kitchen and pausing community dining have both been logistical challenges to delivering optimal services. The team have handled this challenge with grace, calm and pragmatism. We are looking forward to reopening our services to allow for community dining.

You can find more information about Hannah’s award-winning work on her Charity Campaigner of the Year Page. 

Interview by Michelle Slater
Registered Nutritionist
CWT Annual Awards Committee Member

© 2021 The Caroline Walker Trust

Interview with CWT Food Hero of the Year 2020

Andrea Zick is a trained chef and has gained a 1st class BSc degree in Nutrition and Health from Roehampton University. Since 2015 she has been working as the PA to the GM at the OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar and Brasserie. Here she leads on their corporate social responsibility projects. In this role, representing the restaurant, she led the business to win the Food Made Good Community Champion by the Sustainable Restaurant Association in 2017, with an additional nomination in 2019.

Andrea is involved in a broad range of community projects and initiatives. She continues to use her chef’s skills annually in support of charities such as Action Against Hunger and Crisis and Food Cycle. This engagement was the precursor of her involvement during the COVID crisis with the Bia Project at the Irish Centre Lewisham and a second project helping to set up the OXO Community Kitchen, for which she was nominated as the Food Hero of the Year 2020.

How did you feel when you found out you were awarded Food Hero of the Year? 

Honoured! A few years ago I was at the CWT awards ceremony and was so impressed by the people and organisations who were nominated and won awards back then. I never dreamt I’d be one of them one day and surely not in a year which posed so many challenges to all of us.

What is your advice to others who might want to set up community kitchen projects?

Work as a team and find like-minded people. None of the projects I worked on over the last year would have been successful without others giving their time and their passion. Look especially for those who have skills you don’t have so you can complement each other. Take it step by step and build on your successes and never ever be afraid to ask for help; people are so generous with their expertise and time.

What has been the most awarding part of your role?

Being able to create new dishes out of food that may have otherwise gone to waste. I love the creative process and enjoy seeing the reaction of people when they taste something they didn’t expect to be as tasty as it is. Cooking for vulnerable people should, if done well, be as exciting as dining in a restaurant. The love, care and passion going into the meals will translate into the wellbeing of those eating the food. It’s a funny thing, as those eating the food cooking with passion will feel seen and looked after, and that in turn often gives them the feeling of a warm hug especially important when we cannot hug each other as freely as before.

What have you gained from the award food hero of the Year?

It made me confident enough to apply for a PhD and a charity trustee role. It made me realise that I must set myself new goals. I am now, so to say, an advisory to another CWT award-winning organisation which is incredible as I love what they do, and I hope that I can support them well into the future.

What are the benefits of being recognised by CWT as an inspirational food hero?

The opportunity to connect with like minded people and organisations which can help you to increase your reach and impact.

How did you celebrate when you found out you won Food Hero of the Year?

It was during the 2nd lockdown, and I was at home. I took a bottle of champagne which I had saved for a special day and popped it open with my flatmates who I have gotten to know very well over the last year, and we celebrated together with some bubbles that day.

What has been your biggest challenge setting up community kitchen projects?

With most of them, it was how best to follow the ever-changing government Covid guidelines ensuring that everyone involved in the projects was safe at all times.

How did you overcome these challenges?

I think because I’ve handled risk assessments during my career in many different contexts, I was less taken back by the process of reviewing risks and adjusting measures to make the kitchen, service and deliveries safe and, once again, by working together with others collaboratively, you can learn and overcome most challenges. Very much with the mindset where there is a will, there is a way.

Did anything unexpected come from the project? 

The restaurant has now put community meals into day to day work, e.g. batch cook once a week and link with street food. It’s now part of the business; looking back on a year, we are still trying to include some of our work.

What are your visions for the future?

Finding ways to engage with vulnerable people, getting them to engage with hospitality and possibly thinking of it as a career pathway. For example, getting people to volunteer to cook community meals experience what it’s like to work in hospitality.

You can read more about Andrea’s award winning work on her CWT Food Hero of the Year page. 

Interview by Michelle Slater
Registered Nutritionist
CWT Annual Awards Committee Member

© 2021 The Caroline Walker Trust

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