Partnership between The Southern Co-operative and Create and Cook Competition achieves Local Impact Award as part of Business in the Community’s Responsible Business Awards

A partnership between The Southern Co-operative and the regional Create and Cook Competition for school pupils in Hampshire, Isle of Wight and West Sussex has been recognised for its impact in the south east as part of Business in the Community’s (BITC) 2014 Responsible Business Awards.

The Responsible Business Awards are the UK’s longest-running and most respected corporate responsibility awards set up to champion and raise awareness of the best examples from across the UK of business making a positive difference. The Local Impact Awards specifically celebrate companies and individuals who are creating local impact in their community, through initiatives such as volunteering and inspiring young people with work placements.

Min Raisman (left) with Gemma Lacey (right).

Min Raisman (left) with Gemma Lacey (right).

The partnership between The Southern Co-operative and the Create and Cook competition, which is run by fit2cook food education, achieved the Local Impact Highly Commended award in the South East Collaborative Action Awards. The awards recognise business collaborations between two or more private sector businesses that are addressing key social or environmental issues in their community. The Create and Cook competition, which is sponsored by The Southern Co-operative, challenges young cooks aged 12-14 year olds from across Hampshire, West Sussex and Isle of Wight to devise and cook a two course menu using ingredients sourced from their home county. As well as nurturing young chef talent, the competition aims to stimulate entrants to think about sustainability and how they can support local farmers and producers through their menu planning. The overall winning duo are awarded £1000 for their school’s food technology department.

Commenting, Gemma Lacey, Head of Sustainability at The Southern Co-operative said: “To have our partnership with fit2cook food education recognised by BITC endorses our commitment to embed sustainability in our business. Supporting local producers through our expanding Local Flavours range and providing opportunities for young people to develop their talent through initiatives like the Create and Cook Competition are all part of our plan to make a difference in the communities in which we trade across the south of England.”

Min Raisman, Director of fit2cook food education and founder of the Create and Cook Competition, added: “The Southern Co-operative has really helped fit2cook food education develop the Create & Cook Competition across Hampshire, Sussex and the Isle of Wight. With our joint goals of promoting local produce and helping educate the next generation about cooking, healthy eating and where their food comes from, it is a great collaboration and one which we are delighted has been recognised by this Business in the Community Award”

Gemma Lacey and Min Raisman, together with Phil Ponsonby The Southern Co-operative’s Chief Operating Officer for Food Retail, were presented with the Local Impact Award at the Solent Responsible Business Awards Showcase on the 12th June at Langstone Technology Park, Havant in Hampshire.

Commenting Stephen Howard, Business in the Community’s Chief Executive said: “ All year round forward thinking, responsible businesses and exceptional individuals in the South East make a significant and valuable contribution to society, working towards developing more resilient communities, stimulating local economies, creating diverse, skilled and healthy workforces and addressing skills shortages. Our Local Impact Award achievers are at the heart of driving genuine change within local communities. I congratulate The Southern Co-operative and Create and Cook Competition for this achievement. We hope their example will inspire many more businesses to put responsible behaviour at the heart of how they do business.”

The final of this year’s Create and Cook Competition is being held on 26 June at Newlyns Cookery School in Hampshire. For more information about the finalists and to try their recipes, visit www.fit2cook.co.uk/createandcook.

For further information about the 2014 Awards categories including the full list of winners and their case studies visit www.bitc.org.uk/awards.