Denbighshire County Council, and its staff members have been announced as winners at this year’s Welsh LACA (Local Authority Caterers Association) awards, held in Cardiff.

LACA – Wales (Local Authority Caterers Association) is a professional body set up to support School Caterers across the UK.

At the annual awards, a Denbighshire Council staff member took home the prize in their respective category and the County-wide service was also recognised with a special award.

Denbighshire County Council Catering Supervisor, Claire Stott took home the ‘Emerging Talent Award’ for her outstanding work and progression. Claire started as a Catering Assistant 7 years ago and has shown passion, determination, and drive to take all training opportunities available to her, both in house and via external partnerships to gain the qualifications, skills and experience to enable her to achieve several promotions.

She progressed to an Area Cook, Secondary School Cook and is now an Area Catering Supervisor. Claire supports the Catering management team with the day-to-day operation of Catering services in the north of Denbighshire and is helping with the roll out of Universal Free school meals.

Shelley Houston, a Cook at Ysgol Emmanuel was also shortlisted for the ‘Shining Star Award’ for her dedication to the school meals service in Denbighshire. Shelley has worked as a Cook within the service for 30 years.

Hayley Jones, Principal Catering and Cleaning Manager was called to the stage to accept the ‘Welsh Government Food in schools award’. This award was presented to Denbighshire County Council, as well as a number of other local authorities, as a Recognition of Excellence for the Delivery of the Universal Free school meal project. This was accepted on behalf of everyone in Denbighshire who has been involved in and has supported the Catering Service.

On accepting the award, Hayley said:

“It was a huge honour to accept the award on behalf of everyone in Denbighshire who have worked tirelessly to ensure the project and work has been completed on time.

The rollout of the Universal Free school meal project has been a team effort, with multiple departments involved to ensure the service has the capacity to cook the additional meals.”

Paul Jackson, Head of Service for Highways and Environmental Services, said:

“I am so pleased to see that our hardworking staff have been honoured for their hard work and innovative ideas, it is truly deserved.

The staff work tirelessly, many behind the scenes, to ensure our catering department runs as smoothly as possible, and I can only commend them on their hard work. Well done to those that were shortlisted, and of course the winners.”