Children's Food Trust to close with up to 47 job losses

The charity, which promotes healthy eating for children, cites difficulties in maintaining its funding levels

The Children’s Food Trust will close later this year due to financial difficulties, with the loss of up to 47 jobs.

The charity, which promotes healthy eating to children and was a non-departmental body until 2011, when it became a charity, announced in a statement on its website last week that it would close in September because of difficulties in maintaining existing levels of funding for its programmes.

The charity, which was originally set up in 2005 after a school dinner campaign was run by the TV chef Jamie Oliver, employs 47 people, many of whom will be made redundant.

The charity’s headquarters in Sheffield, which the charity leases, houses approximately half of its workforce.

According to the Charity Commission website, the charity had an income of £5.6m in the year to 30 September 2016, but spent £5.8m in the same period. Its income was £7.8m in the previous year.

A spokesman for the charity said it would still deliver most of its programmes until its closure, but its flagship Let’s Get Cooking programme would close.

He said the charity was seeking other organisations to run its services in the long term, and would shortly be releasing a phone app featuring recipes and other material produced by the charity.

Linda Cregan, chief executive of the Children’s Food Trust, said: "Given the political and economic climate, all charities are facing difficulties and we are no different.

"We remain passionate and dedicated to improving child health, but it has proved impossible to continue to deliver our services and extremely reluctantly the trustees have chosen to close the trust. It is our priority at this point to speak to all our funders and partners to ensure a smooth transition and a positive legacy."

Adam Starkey, chair of the Children’s Food Trust, said: "It is with a heavy heart that we have had to make the decision to close the charity. We can be very proud of the work we have done, but there is much more to do. We still face a crisis in child health: now, more than ever, work in this area is vital.

"We urge everybody to ensure that action to improve children’s diets and the standard of the food they eat does not lose pace. Government, food producers and food retailers must make a commitment to researching what works, creating approaches and policies that have an impact, and campaigning to change behaviours that get children to eat well. Investment is needed so that organisations intent on improving child health can pick up the baton and continue our great work."

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