Scotland’s red meat industry has united to deliver an unprecedented amount of lamb to school children across Scotland this St Andrew’s Day.
In the penultimate week for donations, the Lamb Bank has received a 300kg boost from meat processors and packers, Woodhead Brothers in Turriff for North-East schools, as well as generous lamb and cash donations from farmers and businesses in the supply chain.
With the contributions to date, 28,693 pupils in 189 schools will be cooking or eating lamb this November.
However, to meet its ambition to deliver into at least one school in every town and in every rural school in Scotland, the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland (IAAS) – which initiated the Lamb Bank – is calling on farmers, processors and businesses to dig deep and donate either lamb proceeds or money to meet the target of delivering three tonnes of lamb to schools this Autumn.
Alan Hutcheon, IAAS member and Director of Aberdeen Northern Marts said,
“Seeing the industry pull together like this to encourage more school children to taste, eat and cook with Scotch Lamb is exceptional. The more school children we reach, the more we can share the positive story of eating lamb and sheep farming. This is critical to all of us in the red meat sector, and the very generous donations from across the industry, as well as the commitment of John Scott Meats and Woodhead Brothers to butchering and packing it, make it possible to deliver these benefits with impact.
“We still need a last push on donations so if you haven’t already contributed, it’s not too late and every pound makes a difference. Please contact your local mart this week so we can commit to as many schools as possible and plan appropriately.”
Lamb for St Andrew’s Day is a marketing initiative kickstarted in 2010 by auctioneers to boost lamb sales among consumers. It has grown rapidly with the support of IAAS, NFU Scotland, National Sheep Association and Quality Meat Scotland, seeing thousands of consumers, businesses and school children eating lamb as part of St Andrew’s Day events.
In 2020, when large gatherings and eating out were largely closed down, IAAS supported by redirecting its main focus to schools, delivering 1.2 tonnes of lamb into canteens and Home Economics’ classrooms. To build on this, IAAS created the Lamb Bank in 2021, to amass donations from the industry with the ambitious goal to triple last year’s achievement.
Farmers selling sheep via an IAAS mart can donate the proceeds from the sale into the Lamb Bank. Other businesses can make direct financial contributions.
Woodhead Brothers in Turriff has committed to donating 300kg of lamb, approximately 20-25 lambs, which will reach 3000 pupils in schools in the North East. The team will also cut and pack all other donations in the region. Department Manager, Gordon Taylor, said:
“We wanted to be part of this and to make a substantial contribution as we support everything it stands for. Not only does it give tens of thousands of school children the chance to taste and enjoy this tasty and nutritious food in a fun environment, but it will initiate important conversations in the classroom about climate change and is a chance to share the positive messages about rearing livestock in Scotland and sustainable eating. We want to see those children sharing their enthusiasm with parents, siblings and friends and we’d also urge all those in the industry to spread the word and celebrate the ease and versatility of cooking with lamb with their friends and communities.”
John Scott Meats, processor and wholesaler in Paisley, has committed once again to packing and delivering lamb for the rest of Scotland. Director Jamie Scott is a long-standing supporter of Lamb for St Andrew’s Day, with a strong commitment to making it work having seen the benefit to the whole industry of getting lamb in front of school children.
QMS will be providing recipes to inspire cooking in schools and homes, designed to appeal to young people and which can be made in 50 minutes. This is part of a wider marketing campaign throughout November to encourage more people across Scotland to cook with lamb for St Andrew’s Day and throughout the rest of the year. The QMS Education Team has also worked with teachers to create worksheets to be shared in November to stimulate discussion and deeper thinking around labelling, food choices and rearing livestock.
Alix Ritchie of the QMS Education Team said:
“These donations take the numbers of pupils experiencing cooking with, and tasting, lamb to a whole new level. The cost of lamb is often a barrier for schools and teachers, which this overcomes. It gives children a memorable, hands-on experience and encourages conversations around the sustainability of Scotch Lamb production.”
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