Thursday, August 3, 2017

News: Ministry of Food to close in Rotherham

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The Ministry of Food in Rotherham town centre is to close later this month, the charity operating the healthy eating initiative has confirmed.

Rising premises costs, a withdrawal of funding from Rotherham Council for services and a reluctance of charities to replace the funding, means cooking courses will come to an end at the All Saints Square premises.

The Rotherham centre was the first in the country when it opened in 2008 as part of Jamie Oliver's TV series and remained open with the help of £130,000 a year from Rotherham Council. It became a social enterprise in 2010, enabling it to achieve financial stability and to bid for funding.

The premises closed temporarily in 2013 amid health and safety concerns but it underwent a refresh in 2014 after being taken over by Leeds-based charity, Zest - Health for Life.

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Now the charity has issued a statement confirming the closure. It read: "With great sadness the Ministry of Food Rotherham will be closing its doors for good at the end of August 2017.

"Jamie's Ministry of Food can reflect on a fantastic legacy having made a genuine and positive contribution to improve adults health and wellbeing in Rotherham.

"Sadly our three year contract with RMBC to deliver Ministry of Food cooking courses ends in August 2017 and the Council have decided not to refund cooking skills services in the town in the current economic climate.

"With the reluctance of charitable trusts to replace statuary funding, and increasing premises costs, Zest has been unable to attract the significant amount of other funding required to secure a sustainable future for the project. It is therefore with great regret that we will shortly be closing the Ministry of Food Rotherham with the loss of four jobs and a great loss of provision to the people of Rotherham."

When setting its budgets for 2017/18, Rotherham Council, which estimated a £42m financial gap over the next two years, reported that an agreement was in place for a planned reduction of revenue funding support for Ministry of Food from the end of September 2017. £40,000 in savings was budgeted for 2017/18 and 2018/19 from the Assistant Chief Executive's budget with £32,500 in savings budgeted for 2017/18 and 2018/19 from the Public Health budget.

An event to mark the success of the project in recent years is being held on August 17.

Jamie's Ministry of Food website

Images: Jamie's Ministry of Food / Facebook


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