After concluding our recruitment for the first group of Children's Food Ambassadors, we are excited to introduce our fantastic new parent and carer ambassadors for 2023/24. They will be key voices in our upcoming Children's Food Campaign activities and champions of children's food.
We are very pleased to have recruited an extraordinary group of parents and carers from different backgrounds, with rich and varied experiences - representing 24 children from 18 months to 15 years old.
Through the Children's Food Ambassador Programme, we will work on the issues that are most important to parents and carers. Keep your eyes peeled to see what we get up to in the next 12 months.
In the meantime, meet our brilliant Ambassadors:
"I have been in the food industry the last 14 years, working mostly in contract catering. My relationship with food as a contractor changed when I become a mother 5 years ago. I followed my interests and graduated from University where I was studying Human Nutrition. Today, I work as a Chef Manager in a primary school in one of most deprived areas in UK. I am passionate about accessible, cost effective and nutritious food for all, regardless of the post code."
Location: North West
"I come from a hospitality management background, and I am now the Business Manager for a not-for-profit school meals company called Food For Thought Merseyside Ltd based in Liverpool. Alongside my passion for my job and the important role we play in feeding and educating children and young people across Liverpool, I have a 5-year-old daughter. I was keen to join the Children's Food Campaign, not just because of my role, but because I want my daughter to choose healthy food at school and understand why it's important. I’ve seen first hand the influence teachers, adverts and friends can have on my daughter and her choices."
Location: South West
"As a full-time firefighter I try to stay in good condition, and following a family health issue, I began, along with my wife, to take an interest in nutrition and its role in protecting us. This led to the realisation of how poorly our society deals with food, specifically sugars and processed foods. Inspired by our daughter we have lobbied the local council to try to make improvements regarding how the education sector present food, and they are looking into the feasibility of making changes to certain approaches."
Amie Alissa Watson
"I am a dedicated educator, social entrepreneur, and parent. My unwavering passion for children's well-being and health has led me to join the Children's Food Ambassador Programme. Having worked in fashion for many years, I transitioned to being an educator and community organiser; through which I have actively worked to promote better nutrition and food security in communities – organising food cooperatives, community fridges and pantries, and facilitating family-focused cooking clubs. Being part of this programme is a natural extension of my commitment to fostering positive changes in society, and I am excited about the opportunity to further advocate for brighter and healthier futures for children and communities."
"I am currently in my final year of my Psychosocial Community Work degree. Previously I worked for the NHS as an administrator, my last role was in School Health. More recently I have been involved in co-production with lived experience of financial insecurity with NGOs and reclaiming the food system through the Just Fact Project, which aims to establish a different, accessible, and sustainable food system. As a food grower myself I am keen to be involved in this campaign, especially with regard to the school food system and the hope for schools to cultivate their own food for consumption, learning and wellbeing."
Location: East of England
"As a mum of three I have a very personal interest in children’s food. I value quality alongside convenience and the connection between food, health and wellbeing. I enjoy cooking and helping my children explore new foods. I am really interested in the ingredients we find in shop bought foods and would like to support changes in manufacturing to raise the quality of cheap food, and labelling to better understand what we are eating. Throughout my career I have worked in early years and community development and have always valued giving children the best start in life and opportunities for children and their families; recognising where access is not equal and how to change this. I am now working in Public Health and taking the lead in Children's Healthy Weight focusing on a whole system approach across Suffolk."
Dr. Rounaq Nayak
Location: South East
"I am a Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Agri-Food Systems at Bournemouth University. I am passionate about exploring the reciprocal relationship between organizations and local communities, analysing their mutual influence, and studying the sustainability implications within agri-food systems. As a human factors specialist and a human geographer, I have worked on projects in agri-food and healthcare sectors, prioritising a people-centred approach to service improvement. My research interest lies in enhancing the resilience of the global agri-food system to challenges like food poverty, forced labour, and carbon trading by adopting a systems approach. I aim to optimise systems, promote transparency, build community resilience, and evaluate technological innovations using a human factors lens. Through service improvement projects, I have generated reports contributing to sustainable transformations in the agri-food sector and charities."
Location: South East
"I trained and worked as a chef for 20 years before home educating one of my children. I work part time for the Lewes District Food Partnership promoting community growing, cooking and eating projects. I'm a trustee of a youth centre, and run a CIC called Sharing Skills. I'm passionate about helping young people to learn about good food and how to grow and cook."
"I am mummy to an 18-month-old boy who appears to have endless energy. I also work full-time in the public/global health field, specifically obesity. Professionally and personally, I am interested in the health of marginalised groups, the social and commercial determinants of health and, more recently, children’s health and well-being. In my spare time, I can be found outside trying to entertain a toddler by any means necessary, inside reading or trying out a new toddler-friendly recipe, and very occasionally, revisiting aspects of my ‘pre-mum’ life (friends, restaurants, music!)."
"I am a mum and a chef with with a masters degree at the University of Sheffield in Food Security and Food Justice. I co-founded and ran Sheffield Food Collective from 2014 for 3 years. I have two small children and I want them to grow up with the ability to make delicious nutritious food and to be happy and secure in their food choices within a healthy and accessible food system. I love being part of a school network of caregivers for support and discussion, sharing experiences and ideas."
Location: East of England
"I am a vegan mum of three kids who lives in Cambridgeshire. I was inspired to start a blog, sneakyveg.com, when experiencing picky eating with my first child. Previously, as a marketing and communications professional, starting the blog led to a career change which has included recipe development, teaching cookery classes to children and cooking meals in community kitchens."
Mary Needham Carlton
Location: South East
"I have joined the Children’s Food Ambassador Programme because I am passionate about helping children achieve a healthy yet realistic diet from a young age, and helping children create and maintain healthy behaviours which they take with them into adulthood. I am passionate about fighting health inequalities and believe everyone has the right to good healthy food. I believe it is essential to teach children about why foods are good for us, why we need different types of foods, where food comes from, how to prepare meals and the importance of sustainable diets. I’m really interested in helping families make changes through informed choice, and helping parents feel empowered and confident to say no and stand up to the giants! I worked in the restaurant industry for almost 20 years before retraining in 2013. I am now a registered nutritionist (public health) and run my own social enterprise developing and delivering cooking interventions for disadvantaged populations."
Location: North West
"I have dedicated over two decades to the Early Years profession, initially as an Early Years practitioner and eventually progressing into a management role. Throughout my career, I've effectively launched several innovative initiatives in the Oldham area. Presently, I work as a Play, Learn & Grow (PLG) Coordinator for HomeStart Host and the Oldham School Readiness team. In this capacity, I engage with numerous families in both home and school environments."
"Being a mum of three boys I'm always competing with the demands of a busy life and providing my family with healthy nutritious meals. Working for King's College NHS Trust as a children's dental nurse and an oral health promoter for over twenty years, I've witnessed first-hand the impact of our modern-day diet on children's health. Now working as Community Health and Well-being Officer for Schools Superzones, I understand the importance of creating healthier environments for our future generations. I am passionate about advocating and campaigning for all children and families to have the right to accessible, affordable and healthy food and drinks as part of their daily lives."
If you missed applying to our first round of recruitment, we will be opening another round in 2024. To make sure you don't miss this, and to keep to date with our activities, subscribe to our mailing list and follow us on Twitter/X.
Read more about the Children's Food Ambassador Programme.
Published Thursday 30 November 2023
Children's Food Campaign: Better food and food teaching for children in schools, and protection of children from junk food marketing are the aims of Sustain's high-profile Children's Food Campaign. We also want clear food labelling that can be understood by everyone, including children.
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It's the right thing to do: five years of local healthier food advertising policies
20 Feb 2024
Naema joined Sustain in June 2023 as the Children’s Food Campaign Officer. After finishing her Masters in Public Policy and an internship at Bite Back 2030, her interest in children’s health and nutrition grew. Naema works on the ‘Say Yes to School Food for All’ campaign, advocating for all children to have equal chance to thrive at school and improving the relationship between happy children and healthy food. Also, Naema leads on the Children’s Food Ambassador Programme, highlighting the voices of parents and carers in children’s food policy.
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