This blog is two-fold. One, to encourage you as a care establishment to join our UK List, and secondly, if you are a member already, to get the best from it.
For those unfamiliar, Vegetarian for Life (VfL) has a directory of nearly 1,500 care homes across the UK that have signed up for best practice. Members agree to good standards of catering for vegetarians and vegans (veg*ns). As a member you will be added to our searchable database making it easier for potential residents to find you. It’s a win win!
And, in addition to receiving support from the VfL team, you will be posted every new VfL publication released throughout the year. Recent publications include our Nutrition Guide, Food Fortification for Vegans, and Veganising Classic Dishes. All of these publications can also be accessed via our website and downloaded as PDFs.
If you’re a member and haven’t come across these publications, do check with the main office at your care establishment to see where they are. As basic members you can also take advantage of VfL’s online or in-person training options, competitively priced for members at £25 per head.
It may be the case that you have signed up but are not making use of all the benefits that membership brings. This short blog is to encourage you to maximise these opportunities. Find more information on membership options here.
There are two levels of membership: basic and premium. Basic membership is free. To join as a premium member there is a small, one-off fee that varies depending on the number of sites in your organisation.
What are you signing up to?
For the basic membership package you will be agreeing to a set of standards that will support your veg*n residents. You may well already be doing this.
When planning your menu, it should be nutritionally balanced, with at least one veg*n option offered at each mealtime. Staff should all have a good understanding of what a veg*n diet is, and communicate well with veg*n residents in order to support them with their meal choices.
As a Premium Accredited member you are signing up to go the extra mile, and this reflects your commitment to catering and customer service. As well as the above you will agree to offer three veggie options at all mealtimes, two of which can be made vegan.
You have an additional responsibility of setting high standards of catering for veg*ns, but also get a number of additional benefits as premium members. You will get unlimited free access to Vegetarian for Life's British Dietetic Association accredited care caterer training, as well as our meat-free 101 online training, both providing a great introduction to catering for veg*ns. They both take 2.5 hours to complete, and a certificate is provided upon completion. Covering topics such as plant–based nutrition, sourcing and cooking with meat- and dairy-replacements, vegan fortification, and vegan baking.
You will also get 14 free places per year for any in-person day training course, which includes any bespoke courses. We offer independent accreditation of your menus; free listing of your menus online; and a 150 word description for each of your sites on VfL’s website. This means that potential residents will be able to find your establishment easily and will have an extra degree of confidence and reassurance when choosing you. The number of veg*ns is on the rise, so if you don’t have any vegetarian residents now, you sure will soon.
OK, so you are already a premium member but not taking full advantage of what you have basically already paid for. Here are VfL's Roving Chefs who deliver training courses, have a wealth of experience, and are keen to support your team.
Meet the Chefs
Chef Claire: Claire is based in Glasgow and covers Scotland. She has over 20 years food science and technical management experience. Claire specialises in bespoke food and nutrition training solutions. In addition, she’s a REHIS accredited tutor and Healthy Living Awards Assessor for NHS Health Scotland.
Chef Ollie: Ollie is based in London and covers the South of England. As well as being a Roving Chef for VfL, Oliver Bragg is an artist, environmentalist, nutritional chef and regular lecturer at the College of Naturopathic Medicine, London. He has a strong interest in nutrition and loves to create beautiful dishes that reflect his passion for seasonality, sustainability and original flavours.
Chef Justina: Justina is based in Birmingham, covers central England and is a Culinary Arts Management graduate. She has managed a variety of groups of chefs and created her own menus working in both Italian and theatre restaurants. Justina runs VfL’s virtual lunch club and regularly delivers cookery demonstrations to a broad range of groups that support older people.
Chef Alex: Alex is based in Manchester and covers the North of England. Over the past 2 years at VfL he has delivered numerous cookery demonstrations, spoken at National Association of Care Catering conferences, provided training for professional bodies such as Quantum Care, Barchester, U3A, Dementia Support and Devon Care Consortium. Prior to working for VfL Alex was the Principal Tutor at The Vegetarian Society Cookery School for over 20 years.
All of the chefs on the team are committed vegans and vegetarians and are keen to support you to deliver the best care possible for your veg*n residents. And, beyond this, to show you how to create dishes that all of your residents will enjoy.
So, if you are reading this and are a member, get in touch and we can start the ball rolling with a training session. Alternatively, if you are not a member, I encourage you to sign up here and demonstrate your commitment to catering well and ethically for your current and future vegan and vegetarian residents.
Still not convinced? Don’t have any vegetarian residents currently? Ok, well you soon will have. Eating habits in the UK are changing with more people than ever adopting a veg*n diet. So, stay ahead of the competition and start making plans now. Vegetarian for Life is here to support you and your team. We look forward to hearing from you soon. Get in touch at email@example.com or call us on 0161 257 0887.