SMRP calls on dairies to give it some cash
LEADERS of the School Milk Research Project are calling on dairies to provide them with cash to fund extra staff.
The SMRP, founded in 1998 by the Womens Food and Farming Union, currently has four "facilitators" working with Local Education Authorities, schools and dairies to increase milk consumption in schools.
But the SMRP wants to broaden their coverage – and is looking for full or part-funding from commercial organisations to pay for more facilitators. "Dairies, for example, could be doing more," says SMRP manager Barbara Griffiths.
"The facilitators have worked tirelessly in every way to put milk into schools," she says.
The "face-to-face" contact as they visit primary schools informing them of the schemes available and assisting in their implementation is vital, says Ms Griffiths. But with each one costing about £15,000 a year, more funding is now urgently needed.
The SMRP – originally funded by the Milk Development Council and later supported by Tetra Pak, Midland Co-op, Express Dairies and Arla Foods – claims to have raised the number of children drinking milk at school by more than 30,000 in England alone.
"We are working for the benefit of all children and at the same time helping the industry.
"Our aim is to introduce morning break time milk schemes as it is more beneficial to children to drink milk at this time of the day rather than at lunchtime," she says.