Dr Laura Wyness, Registered Nutritionist, was awarded the title of ‘CWT Freelance Nutritionist of the Year 2019’ at last year’s CWT 30th Anniversary and Awards Reception for her outstanding and distinctive work in promoting public health and advancing standards of food and nutrition.
The judges were thrilled at how Laura’s work echoed the variety of work that Caroline Walker herself carried out. Similar in many aspects of Caroline’s Walker own work, Dr Laura Wyness has worked in a variety of roles from nutritionist, writer, author and campaigner for better food. Just like Caroline experienced, the journey has been one of surprises and fulfilment, and as the road curves, dips and turns there are many ways to make a contribution to improve the food we eat and the understanding of the effects on our diet. Laura has certainly demonstrated how she’s followed in Caroline’s path.
Laura’s work as a freelance nutritionist involves researching and writing nutrition content for publications and company websites, providing workplace wellness talks to businesses and personalised nutrition advice to staff.
She is part of the team of coaches at Edinburgh’s InsideOut Personal Training, where she provides nutritional support to members in the form of ‘Ask the Nutritionist’ sessions online and has developed menu plans and healthy recipes. She regularly assesses catering establishments for the Health Scotland’s ‘Healthy Living Award’ and provides advice on how to improve menu options.
Laura also regularly provides comments on nutrition for the media by working with journalists on articles, speaking on the radio, and writing nutrition tips for the recipes in the Ocado magazine. She has helped build up a network of nutrition colleagues through volunteering as AfN Scottish Regional Rep and co-founding the @AfNutr twitter chats.
Since winning the CWT Freelance Nutritionist award, Laura has joined the expert team at Ocado magazine, and has featured in The Telegraph, NutraIngredients, Happiful magazine and Delicious magazine. She has also spoken to nutrition students at various universities on nutrition careers and using social media as a nutrition professional. She is continuing to grow her consultancy business and client base.
We caught up with Laura to see what life has been like since winning Freelance Nutritionist of the Year 2019 award. Here’s what she had to say…
How did you feel when you were awarded Freelance Nutritionist of the Year 2019?
I was delighted to be invited to London for the Awards event. I loved being in the same room as so many talented nutritionists and getting to meet and chat to others working in such a variety of nutrition roles. It’s not often that the work of a Freelance Nutritionist is acknowledged, so I feel extremely grateful. To be recognised by the Caroline Walker Trust is such an honour.
Have you found your role as a Freelance Nutritionist a comfortable journey?
I worked in a variety of roles for several years before becoming a Freelance Nutritionist. The experience I gained from working in academic research, policy development, supporting the food industry and nutrition communications provided such a useful insight and understanding of the role of nutrition in health and wellbeing.
When I first started as a Freelance Nutritionist almost 4 years ago, it was a very steep learning curve and quite a lonely experience. However, I soon started to make use of the support available by going on business courses, attending networking events and joining groups like SENSE for self-employed nutritionists.
I love the work that I am able to do now and enjoy the opportunities that freelance work brings. The recent lockdown situation has meant revising my business plans and ‘pivoting’ some of my services so I can now offer nutritional consultations and workplace nutrition talks online.
I wouldn’t say the journey into Freelance nutrition has been comfortable, as the growth (or magic) usually happens when you push yourself out of your comfort zone. It’s certainly been an enjoyable experience and one that I continue to relish.
Starting your own business can be hugely rewarding although quite scary at the same time. I have found regular networking to be a vital part of growing my business and have learnt a great deal from connecting with freelancers in nutrition and other industries.
Seek out the support that is available. The Association for Nutrition and the Regional AfN Facebook groups offer great support, and there are also lots of other useful Facebook groups for business advice, or for nutritionists working in specific areas where you can share advice and experiences.
It is also useful to give back and help others. Being a Food and Drink Ambassador, mentoring early career nutritionists, volunteering as an AfN Rep, and delivering career talks to nutrition students are all ways to support other nutritionists and improve our profession. It can be a hugely rewarding experience.
What is the most rewarding part of your role as a Freelance Nutritionist?
It is an amazing learning experience, not just about nutrition, but also learning about running a business and your own self-development. I feel is really important to communicate evidence-based nutrition information. I love being able to translate nutrition science into clear and practical messages and, above all, being able to pursue work that I find most interesting.
What have you gained from the award ‘Freelance Nutritionist of the Year’?
Winning this Award has boosted my confidence. I feel I am still learning (and making mistakes) every day working as a freelance nutritionist, so to gain this recognition has given me a great sense of achievement.
What are the benefits of being recognised by CWT as an inspirational Nutritionist?
As a freelance nutritionist herself, Caroline Walker was passionate about improving public health through good food. With the increasing issues we face in food security and inequality, Caroline left an inspiring legacy for nutritionists to continue.
I am extremely grateful for the support and recognition from the Caroline Walker Trust. It has greatly inspired me to continue to promote the importance of public health nutrition.
Written by Kathy Lewis, R.Nutr., 2020
The winners of The Caroline Walker Trust Awards 2019 were announced at a special presentation ceremony held on Tuesday evening, 12th November, at Chandos House, Royal Society of Medicine in London.
The Caroline Walker Trust Awards were “intended to highlight distinctive and outstanding work in promoting public health by maintaining and advancing standards of food and nutrition. Traditionally the Caroline Walker Trust only offered four awards; however, over the years, these have changed to reflect the dynamic environment in which the Trust operates.” Anka Johnston, Chair of CWT. This year, the trust offered six awards, which also included a Lifetime Achievement award, Food Hero of the Year, Media Campaigner of the Year and Charity Food Campaigner of the Year.
CWT would like to congratulate all the winners and runners-up of the CWT Awards 2019.
Below are the award winners and runners-up for each category:
Charity Food Campaigner of the Year
Winner: City Harvest
Runner-up: One Feeds Two
Laura Winningham, CEO at City Harvest:
“City Harvest was extremely proud to join leaders in the field of food and public health at the 30th Anniversary Caroline Walker celebration and thrilled to receive an award for our work as a Charity Campaigner. We believe everyone is entitled to affordable, nourishing food and City Harvest have delivered healthy surplus food for more than 7 million meals to more than 300 charity partners serving vulnerable Londoners.”
Food Hero of the Year
Winner: Jason O’Rourke
Runner-up: Nutrition Scotland
Jason O’Rourke, Headteacher at Washingborough Academy:
“It was such an honour to be awarded the Caroline Walker Trust ‘Food Hero of The Year’ award in recognition of the Food Education work that we have developed at Washingborough Academy and also with the TastEd charity. Teaching children the skills and knowledge about the food that they eat and how their informed choices can have such an important effect on their future health and well-being is a vitally important area of any child’s education. Schools can have such a positive impact on children’s relationship with food and I would hope that this award inspires more schools to include Food Education into their curriculum.”
Media Food Campaigner of the Year
Winner: Sabine Goodwin
Runner-up: Early Start Nutrition
Sabine Goodwin, Coordinator at Independent Food Aid Network:
“I am very honoured indeed to be the winner of the CWT Media Campaigner of the Year Award. I’m grateful for the recognition of my work to raise awareness of the significance of independent food aid providers as well as the scale of growing food insecurity in the UK. Caroline Walker was an inspiring campaigner who cared passionately about the health implications of living in poverty. She would certainly have been appalled to find that millions of people in the UK are unable to afford to buy food let alone healthy and nutritious food.”
Nutritionist of the Year
Winner: Greg Lessons
Runner-up: Barbara Bray, MBE
Greg Lessons, Nutritionist at London Fire Brigade:
“I can’t thank the CWT enough for this incredible honour in recognition of my work for the London Fire Brigade. A huge thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way.”
Freelance Nutritionist of the Year
Winner: Laura Wyness
Runner-up: Shaleen Meelu
Laura Wyness, Freelance Registered Nutritionist based in Edinburgh:
“I am absolutely thrilled to have won this award from The Caroline Walker Trust. The work and impact Caroline Walker made to public health nutrition has been very motivating for me in my nutrition career and I have found the resources produced by the Trust really useful in my work. It is great to be recognised as a freelance nutritionist promoting the science behind healthy food and diets.”
The Caroline Walker Trust Lifetime Achievement Award
Professor Philip James
A special Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Philip James who has supported the CWT since its inception and has made outstanding contributions to the nation’s food and health.
Notes to the Editor
- For information on the background to the awards and how the result was arrived see: https://www.cwt.org.uk/cwt-announce-awards-short-list/
- The Caroline Walker Trust was founded in 1989 after the death of the distinguished nutritionist, writer and campaigner Caroline Walker. Established to continue her work and in her spirit, the CWT works tirelessly to promote the improvement of public health through good food. The work of CWT is particularly targeted towards vulnerable groups and people who need special help.
- This year is the 30th anniversary of the Trust and the theme for the evening is Affordable food: Affordable health. The speakers included Felicity Lawrence, Guardian Journalist; Peter Stefanovic, Social Injustice Campaigner and distinguished Lawyer; and Dan Crossley, Executive Director at the Food Ethics Council.
- The Caroline Walker Trust Logo:
- The Nutritionist of the Year award has been sponsored by the Nutrition Society nutritionsociety.org and the Association for Nutrition www.associationfornutrition.org
- The Nutrition Society of the UK and Ireland was established in 1941 and is one of the largest learned societies for nutrition in the world. With over 2,600 members internationally, the Society is dedicated to delivering its mission of advancing the scientific study of nutrition and its application to animal and human health. The Society disseminates and promotes nutrition science through its six journals and six textbooks, in addition to regularly organising CPD endorsed conferences and webinars. Working with universities, parliamentarians, industry representatives, academic researchers, and other membership organisations, the Society aims to create opportunities for building relationships that strengthen research and collaboration within the field. Membership is open to any individual with an interest in nutritional science.
- The Freelance Nutritionist of the Year award has been sponsored by SENSE and the Nutrition Society nutritionsociety.org
- SENSE is the original unique network for professional self-employed Registered Nutritionists and Registered Dietitians. It exists to provide members with professional development, support and advice. Founded in 1996 by Dr Margaret Ashwell as ‘Self Employed Nutritionists’ Support and Enlightenment’. SENSE now has more than 70 members and a flourishing CPD programme of twice-yearly meetings. http://www.sense-nutrition.org.uk
- The Association for Nutrition (AfN) holds the UK Voluntary Register of Nutritionists (UKVRN), a register of competent, qualified nutrition professionals who meet our rigorously applied standards for scientifically sound evidence-based nutrition and its use in practice. The UK Voluntary Register of Nutritionists is the only register of qualified nutritionists recognised by Public Health England, NHS Choices and NHS Careers
- City Harvest has rescued over 7 million meals, collecting and delivering 80,000 meals a week from supermarkets, wholesale markets, manufacturers and the hospitality industry. Their trademark fleet of temperature-controlled vans delivers to over 300 London community programmes, including homeless shelters, mental health community projects, family centres, children’s’ programmes, and domestic abuse refuges. http://www.cityharvest.org.uk/
- Jason O’Rourke is the Headteacher at Washingborough Academy, Lincolnshire and the Founder of TastEd. Jason’s work with Washingborough Academy featured extensively in the Government’s 2016 Childhood Obesity Strategy and Plan for Action as best practice in food education and changing food cultures. Jason’s school has also become the first in the country to receive the Gold Award from the Soil Association’s ‘Food for Life Served Here’ programme. The School won the School Food Plan Award 2016. It also was a finalist in the Times Education Supplement Healthy School of the Year award in 2016 and 2017. Jason is also the winner of the Educatering School food Plan Awards in 2016 and was invited to be a Headteacher advisor to the Government Department of Health and Social Care. washingboroughacademy.org and www.tasteeducation.com
- Sabine Goodwin was a television news and investigative journalist. Sabine now coordinates the Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) and advocates on behalf of its members. Sabine is challenging the government on its policies towards poverty to eradicate food poverty. In 2017 Sabine created a database of independent food banks working across the UK, that highlighted how many food banks were outside the mainstream funded activities. In addition to the Trussell Trust’s 1200 food banks, Sabine has discovered another 800 hidden food banks, making a total of 2000. Her research was first published in the Guardian in May 2017. Since then, Sabine has raised the profile of independent food aid providers with the media, ministers, academics and other charities. Sabine works collaboratively with others, including running a joint project with ‘A Menu for Change’ to collate food parcel distribution data from Scottish independent food banks and with Sustain and other members of the End Hunger UK alliance to highlight food insecurity. Sabine also worked as the producer of Food Bank As It Is – a play depicting the reality of food banks. Added to this Sabine is also now working independently of IFAN with Dr Rachel Loopstra at Kings College London undertaking research on independent food banks in England.
- Greg Lessons is a Nutritionist at the London Fire Brigade. Greg works with firefighters to develop personalised nutrition plans, helping them to make healthier food choices, and also holds food preparation master classes with firefighters across the capital.
- Dr Laura Wyness was a Senior Research Fellow for three years in the Scottish Centre for Food Development and Innovation, Edinburgh where she led a range of research projects to help companies reformulate or develop new healthier products. She now works as a Freelance Registered Nutritionist based in Edinburgh https://www.laurawyness.com/.