These are just some of the beautiful displays put together in schools by our team members to commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War and to remember all who have lost their lives in times of conflict since.
Aip has started the new school term with the mobilisation of more than 30 new school contracts, worth £3.6million, to include schools in London, Staffordshire, Herefordshire and for the first time for the company, Cambridgeshire.
A ‘cluster’ of six schools – one secondary and five primary – started on site in London, continuing AiP’s expansion here and in the South East. The primary schools all have bespoke menus to suit their individual requirements and AiP’s Food Smart branding has been rolled out in all five. Taster evenings have been run in some of the schools to introduce parents and carers to the new menus being enjoyed by the children.
The secondary school in the London cluster, Mayfield School, Ilford has seen a complete rebrand in the dining room to AiP’s secondary Feed Me brand and a focus on returning to fresh food service by replacing a reliance on convenience food with hot, freshly prepared dishes. A snack wagon owned by the school has been refurbished too and will be used by students at sporting events at the end of the day to discourage them from visiting local fast food outlets.
AiP’s first venture into Cambridge is for The Trumpington Federation with two schools – Fawcett Primary and Trumpington Meadows, with a combined population of 680 pupils. As well as new branding, AiP has introduced a flexible catering service including a daily pick and mix sandwich option and help yourself salad bar to give both staff and students flexibility.
We were delighted to sponsor and take part in a series of cookery demos and interactive workshops which took place at Longlands Primary School, in Fairfields, Market Drayton last week during the Ginger and Spice Festival 2018 in the town.
AiP’s development chefs Jean Marc Bernard and Stuart Brown, assisted by directors Sally Tyson and Jenny Roberts joined celebrated Shropshire chefs including Christopher Burt and James Sherwin to create a range of delicious salads made with seasonal vegetables with children from the school. Olivier Blanc, creator of the award-winning educational food and nature app for children, ‘Henri Le Worm’ also promoted the importance of healthy, local and seasonal food choices to the children during the workshops.
Longlands Primary School children also enjoyed pedaling away on the Smoothie Bike provided by AiP for the day to make a range of delicious and healthy fruit smoothies.
Family members and friends then joined the children and school staff at a community meal the same afternoon with a barbeque and a chance to sample the salads which the children helped to prepare earlier in the day.
‘It was our pleasure to support the Ginger and Spice Festival in actively promoting seasonality and nutrition to the Fairfields’ community. The children loved working with the brigade of chefs to create some really delicious food which was enjoyed by the wider community to round off the day”, explains AiP Director Sally Tyson.
Eight team members from AIP took part in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey cycle ride last weekend, rising more than £5,000 for mental health charity MIND.
Twenty-two thousand riders braved wet and windy conditions on Sunday to complete the sixth annual 100-mile challenge.
The AiP team, who have been in training for many weeks, comprised of Paul Rogers, AiP Managing Director, Cherie-Anne Hart, Business Director, Amy Teichman, Quality and Nutrition Manager and her husband, Adam Starbuck, AiP Financial Analysis and two of the company’s Development Chefs Jean Marc Bernard and Stuart Brown. Nia Roberts, daughter of Jenny Roberts AiP Business Director completed the team.
“After weeks of glorious sunshine to be riding 100 miles in the wind and rain was a real challenge for all of us but we did it!” Paul Rogers explains.
“We are all delighted to have achieved our personal goals and raised so much money for MIND, the charity that supports people with mental health problems – an illness that can touch any of us at any time.”
The events, part of the Ginger and Spice Festival 2018 in the town, feature Olivier Blanc, creator of the award winning educational food and nature app for children, ‘Henri Le Worm’. Olivier will be joining local chefs, community project leaders and school staff for an inspired celebration of local, seasonal and home grown food during the fortnight, taking place during Market Drayton’s Ginger and Spice Festival 2018.
All demonstrations and workshops taking place will promote the importance of healthy, local and seasonal food choices as well as highlighting the importance that nature plays in the food cycle and food production process.
Olivier will be demonstrating with recipes inspired by his chef father, Raymond Blanc, OBE, using the fun and creative characters featured in the app Henri Le Worm. He will be incorporating fresh ingredients grown in the school’s community garden as well as other seasonal produce kindly donated by sponsor and Longlands’ Primary School caterer, Alliance in Partnership. AiP will also be serving seasonal British produce to the school children for the duration of British Food Fortnight.
AiP will also be providing a smoothie bike for the school children to enjoy and learn from on the day.
The Ginger and Spice Festival will be taking place during British Food Fortnight from 26th to 29th September 2018, and will include an eclectic mix of festival fringe events celebrating the culinary heritage on the town of Market Drayton.
AiP is celebrating 20 years in business this month!
Founded in June 1998, AiP is now headed by three directors, Paul Rogers, Sally Tyson and Angela Austin who undertook a management buyout from the original founders on their retirement in 2014.
Today we serve more than 75,000 meals a day at 377 schools and colleges in the Midlands, London and the South East. AiP acquired Class Catering based in the Worcester and Warwickshire area in 2014 and then Kent-based The Contract Dining Company in 2017 and now employs more than 1600 staff and has a turnover of c £32 million.
Celebrating AiP’s 20th birthday, Paul Rogers Managing Director, pictured above with fellow directors Sally Tyson (left) and Angela Austin (right) said:
“AiP has grown considerably in the last few years through organic growth and acquisition but we have also stayed true to our ethos of supplying high quality, locally sourced and seasonal meals at quality prices.
“We have introduced distinct branding in both primary and secondary schools and we also push the boundaries with innovative food concepts such as street food to stay ahead of market trends. This means students enjoy their school meals and head teachers are assured of an inspirational and properly managed catering service. Our customer-based approach where we always strive to find a solution has been integral to our success.
“However, our 20-year anniversary wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication of everyone in the AiP team – development chefs, managers, and of course the front-line staff who welcome thousands of hungry school children into their dining rooms every day with a home cooked meal and a smile.”
AiP has secured the contract for a second cluster of schools in the Bristol area in a three-year contract worth £1.3m.
The seven primary schools in the contract will see the introduction of our Food Smart branding plus investment in new equipment as well as staff training. A new general manager is also being recruited to manage the contract and ensure that each school receives a personal service.
In line with our policy of working with schools to promote healthy eating, we will be sponsoring events at each of the schools including food tastings and staging food related extra-curricular activities.
We’ve got the new year off to a healthy start with a significant new contract win for a cluster of 11 schools in Staffordshire. The contract is worth more than £2.5million over three years.
AiP will be rolling out its ‘Food Smart’ primary school branding at each of the schools, along with new Gold Food for Life menus.
We’re delighted to have secured significant business worth more than £4 million over three years for 15 schools based in south Croydon.
A mixture of primary, secondary and one special school, the contract provides new menus and a roll out of our ‘Food Smart’ primary school branding and ‘Feed Me’ branding at the secondary schools, all specifically tailored to the needs of each school. The contracts will be mobilised in early 2018.
The contract is another successful win for AiP in London and the South East of England, as part of a planned expansion in this area, consolidated last week by the company’s acquisition of Kent-based The Contract Dining Company.
Alliance in Partnership (AiP) has acquired a complementary business, The Contract Dining Company based in Kent, in a deal which will help it to expand its reach in the South East.
Based in Headcorn, near Maidstone, The Contract Dining Company was established in 2004 and provides catering services to 53 schools in Kent, delivering more than 8,000 meals a day. With a 231-strong team, the business has grown to a turnover of £4m based on its ethos of only using high quality ingredients, locally sourced wherever possible, in its freshly prepared, healthy menus. The Contract Dining Company management team, including founder Anne Winn, will remain with the company following the deal.
The company’s acquisition by AiP sees it join one of the largest education catering specialists in the UK. Over the last 19 years, AiP has expanded from its Oldbury, West Midlands base to provide over 75,000 meals a day in primary and secondary schools and colleges nationwide.
Paul Rogers, managing director of AiP, explains: “The addition of The Contract Dining Company to the AiP family will enable us to further strengthen our presence in the South East, giving us a strong foothold in Kent following our recent contract wins in London. There’s also a close cultural fit between the two businesses as we both share a focus on providing fresh, healthy and nutritious meals for schools.
“The combined group will now serve over 400 schools and colleges throughout the UK and will have combined sales of £33m, making us a major player in the education catering sector.”
This latest acquisition follows a multi-million-pound investment made by Leeds and London-based private equity house Key Capital Partners (KCP) in 2014 which also saw KCP partner Owen Trotter join the AiP board. Over the last three years, KCP has played an active role in driving the company’s growth strategy.
Mr Trotter comments: “This latest development marks another key milestone in AiP’s continued expansion. The business has already seen revenue grow by 120% since 2014 as its commitment to the provision of quality, freshly-cooked and nutritious meals for the education sector has chimed with public concerns. As a firmly established leader in the field, the company is well-positioned to extend its offering across the UK.”