Work on an innovative food production unit for Cornwall is now well advanced and is expected to open its doors in Spring 2008.
The new food production unit was awarded almost £2m of grant funding last year under the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Objective 1 programme receiving part financing from the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund of the European Union (EAGGF) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Representatives from the Government Office for the South West have been keen to see this project progressing and will be paying a visit to the site of the new facility in early December to see the progress for themselves.
A spokesman for GOSW, which administers the Objective 1 programme in Cornwall, said: "We are delighted to be able to support such an innovative scheme which will not only provide healthy local produce for local hospitals but also bring environmental and economic benefits to the county, safeguarding a number of jobs and a guaranteed market for local farmers and growers."
The development of the new food production unit is an exciting and unique opportunity for Cornwall and will transform the way that meals are provided to hospitals across the County. The new facility will also provide economic and environmental benefits to Cornwall as ingredients and produce will be locally grown and sourced and meals will be prepared and cooked locally, considerably reducing food miles.
It is the next step in developing the innovative and successful Cornwall Food Programme, which has been supported by investment from Objective One, Defra and the Soil Association, to maximise the use of local produce in hospital meals. This scheme has been nationally recognised as an example to others.
Mike Pearson, head of hotel services for the NHS in Cornwall, said, "We are eagerly awaiting the move to the new unit next year so we can further exploit the achievements of the Cornwall NHS Food Programme and continue to increase our local purchasing ethos. Our surveys show the vast majority of patients are satisfied with the food they receive in hospital and the CFPU will allow our catering team to provide high quality, nutritionally balanced, locally produced meals from a top class environment."
The development of the food production unit is being led by the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, as a partnership project for the NHS across Cornwall and is being developed as part of the NHS LIFT (Local Improvement Finance Trust) initiative in Cornwall by the county's LIFTco, Community 1st Cornwall Limited. This is the first LIFT project to be signed between Community 1st Cornwall and the Acute Trust and demonstrates the breadth of regeneration activities LIFT can participate in and successfully deliver to improve the county's health and social care and support services infrastructure.