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From Vision to Reality: Sheffield Children’s Hospital Transform Patient Dining with Sophie's Legacy

Sophie's Legacy is dedicated to supporting children and families throughout their hospital stays, with a particular focus on enhancing food offerings. We are therefore proud to announce the official launch of the ready meals project between Sheffield Children’s Hospital and Food Works Sheffield. Following a successful four-week pilot funded by Sophie's Legacy through the Children’s Hospital Alliance, this initiative is set to make a meaningful impact on patient families.

The initiative is a collaboration between Sheffield Children’s Hospital and Food Works, an organisation specialising in upcycling food products to reduce food waste and create sustainable meals for the local community. 'Just Meals' the resulting range of environmentally friendly frozen ready meals, is created locally in Sheffield using sustainable practices. Each meal is packaged in 100% biodegradable and home compostable packaging, minimising the carbon footprint.

The project involves filling freezers on each ward at Sheffield Children’s Hospital with locally sourced and sustainably produced ready meals provided by Food Works. During the first three months of the project, over 400 meals have been provided, catering to various dietary needs, including vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and low-allergen options. The initiative operates on a pay-what-you-can basis, ensuring financial accessibility for all families during hospital stays.

John Williams, Deputy Chief Executive at Sheffield Children’s, expressed pride in the project's positive impact, stating, “We’re so proud of this project and the opportunity to work with Food Works to create healthy food options within our ward environments for families. It’s really wonderful to see this come to fruition, and to see the support that this has given to our patients and families during their time at Sheffield Children’s.”

To celebrate the official launch, families and colleagues were treated to an array of cakes and sweet treats, highlighting the ongoing effort to reduce the impact of health inequalities. Sarah Baker, Improvement Project Manager at Sheffield Children’s, shared insights into the project's origin, saying, “After speaking directly with a number of our patients and families, we saw that there was an opportunity to develop a service that would support our Sheffield Children’s community. No family should go hungry whilst staying with us, and so we did everything that we could to get this project off the ground."

The project has not only garnered local support but also attracted attention from Dame Rachel de Souza, Children's Commissioner for England, who learned of the project during her visit to Sheffield Children’s Hospital, commended the program, stating, “It was a pleasure to visit Sheffield Children’s Hospital recently, and to hear more about their Food Works programme. As Children’s Commissioner, I have heard from so many families how important it is to receive support in their community, which is why schemes like these are so invaluable."

The ongoing success of this collaboration signifies a step towards achieving Sophie's Legacy's vision of a more compassionate and nurturing healthcare landscape for all.

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