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PKL is a specialist supplier of modular temporary kitchens for hire, and permanent modular kitchen buildings for hire or sale. We have a fleet of several hundred temporary kitchens, cold rooms, dry stores, canteen units and laundry facilities available for hire, and have installed over 150 permanent modular kitchens and food kiosks in the last three years.
While New College Oxford undergoes a refurbishment, they need a temporary kitchen facility for 18 months. New College is well-known for its high quality food offering, so the Fellows wanted to ensure there was no drop in the standard of the service and hospitality while the refurbishment takes place.
PKL supplied the initial design for the temporary catering facility, and this was then developed in conjunction with the college catering team and the college's team of consultants, to achieve a suitable replacement for the existing facility while works take place. The end result was a large open plan facility comprising all the standard features of a major kitchen complex. Features include a central island canopy, tempered air, support offices and welfare areas. In total, 27 of PKL's portable kitchen units have been used to create the kitchen.
The Challenges Involved
One of the key challenges PKL faced was access to the site. The lorries were unable to fit onto site, so each of the 27 units was offloaded onto the street and manoeuvred through the historic college archways using forklifts. This involved organising road closures, and careful planning to ensure that the delivery process was as efficient and safe as possible.
The other key consideration was the positioning of the units themselves. The deployment site in Holywell Quad is on a lawn, so foundations for the facility had to be surface mounted. The location is also surrounded by protected trees and is within 25 metres of the original Oxford city wall, so careful consideration and planning had to take place in liaison with specialist advisers.
The classrooms and corridors of Passmores Academy will be familiar to those that tuned in to watch hit TV show Educating Essex, but it is the new outdoor dining fixture that has been given top marks from both students and staff.
With more than 1,000 students aged 11 - 16 years old enrolled at the Academy, and a growing intake of around 230 students each year, Passmores Academy called on modular kitchen specialists, PKL, to expand the school's dining facilities by making the most of the available outdoor space.
Principal, Vic Goddard explains: "We believe that all students should be empowered to achieve and aspire to the highest point and we realise how important it is for students to enjoy healthy, fresh food daily, to help improve their concentration and readiness to learn in lessons.
"We already had a space around the building with a covered seating area, but we wanted to extend this by introducing a small scale catering facility that would encourage students to eat well and enjoy eating together. We contacted several different companies with our plan and a rough idea of the design, and PKL came back with the best solution to meet our needs.
"The PKL Food Cube was the ideal option for us because we did not have a sufficient amount of room inside the school to expand, so the only option was to utilise our outdoor space. PKL designed a bespoke food cube for the Academy and the outcome has certainly exceeded all of our expectations. We are able to cater for a much larger number of students on a daily basis and it's fantastic to now be in a position to offer students a much wider range of products both at break time and lunch time."
"The School Food Plan and new guidelines have educated us on the importance of providing students with an appetising, nutritious meal and healthy eating is going to be an important focus for us in the coming months. We aim to offer students a wide choice of food and dishes are inspired by cuisine from around the world. Main meals are changed daily to include pasta pots, roast dinners, curries, fish pies and lasagne. Jacket potatoes, rolls, paninis, wraps and fresh salads are also served from the food cube to ensure there is something to suit all tastes.
"Serving affordable, healthy and high quality food is highly important to us and we understand the power this has to improve the concentration and performance of our students. It is encouraging to witness the knock-on effect that food has on the students' overall behaviour, and we are delighted with the positive environment that the new outdoor eating area has created for both staff and students."
One school which has seen the benefits that a home cooked lunch time meal for children can bring in advance of the introduction of Universal School Meals and invested in the infrastructure to deliver the meals, is Bentley High Street Primary School near Doncaster.
Situated in former mining village, Bentley High Street Primary School had no school kitchens and the meals were transported in from a neighbouring school. The school now has a brand new PKL KitchenPod, a school cook and assistant plus a five lunchtime supervisors and is delivering 230 home cooked meals a day, with this expected to rise to 330 in September with the introduction of Universal Free School Meals.
Head Teacher Janis James has campaigned for the last four years for the school to have its own catering facilities to promote healthy eating and for the school to act as a community hub that supports the whole family as she explains:
"I have long been a champion of the importance of a fresh home-cooked meal for children at school - evidence shows that it helps them to concentrate better at their lessons and can help with behaviour. This can only be a good thing for teachers, parents and the children alike and is very important in a community such as ours. We took the initiative to push for school meals to be cooked on-site in our own kitchen. I am delighted that not only are we offering lovely cooked meals now but that we are also in a great position to be able to deliver the free school meal programme from September."
The new kitchen at Bentley High Street Primary School was as a result of collaboration between the Head Teacher, Doncaster Schools Catering Manager Janet Sylvester and Doncaster Education Construction Services. The team worked together to consider the best option for the school and how it could make the most of the capital investment that Doncaster Council was prepared to offer and deliver the Head Teacher's vision for school meals on-site.
The KitchenPod was specified after a wide ranging feasibility study, which also considered a new build and extending the existing scullery. The team chose the KitchenPod solution because of convenience, the time constraints they were faced with to be ready for UFISM and budget. Lead by Janet Sylvester, the team worked with PKL Group to come up with the most appropriate design to ensure that the needs of the school, catering services and construction services were met and that a kitchen was delivered that had the capacity to expand as school meal uptake at the school increased.
The PKL KitchenPod at Bentley High Street Primary School is a modern, hygienic and permanent modular kitchen building, which was supplied complete with all the catering equipment that the school needs to deliver the guideline menus in the School Food Plan. Delivered onsite, fully equipped and ready to connect to services, the KitchenPod was designed specifically for schools like Bentley High Street Primary School which have no kitchen facilities on-site and do not want to give up valuable teaching space to create new or additional catering facilities.
The Pod at Bentley High Street Primary School is a two unit open plan production kitchen, with the capacity to feed up to 450 pupils with the added benefit of being able to expand this by 20% should meal uptake increase as is expected. Prior to the new KitchenPod being installed take up was around 49% for school meals, against a Doncaster Borough average of 59%. Within four weeks, parents were already seeing the quality of the food on offer and this was up by 52% and continues to grow. Staff too now eat lunch with the children, adding to the numbers and the importance of eating together at lunch time.
Jim Hopper, Education Build Project Manager at Construction Services, Doncaster Council said:
"The project was conceived before the UIFSM was launched, and it was the collaboration of all the services within the council and the school that helped lay the foundations for the work that then evolved when the UIFSM was finally announced.
"Information gained from the feasibility study as this project evolved meant that we had a head start in identifying capacity throughout the Borough too. Across the Doncaster area we now have a planned programme of three new kitchens, extensions at a further two schools and over 50 schools benefiting from new and improved equipment. The final collaboration to deliver the UIFSM also saw us partner with the LCVAP schools to ensure a consistent delivery across Doncaster and meet demand for September 2014."
PKL provided a multi-unit temporary kitchen facility to Ashridge Business Centre, while works were undertaken to the kitchens on site.
Ashridge Business Centre is a widely recognised authority on strategic management issues within large companies, and works with over 6,450 managers and 850 organisations from over 60 countries each year, to provide customised strategic education programmes.
Located 30 miles outside of London, the Centre is based in a Grade 1 listed country house which was built in the early 1800s, and is accompanied by over 190 hectares of parkland and historic gardens.
As well as being used as a management and development centre, Ashridge is an award-winning venue, which is used by many organisations for meetings and conference events.
The Centre has recently undertaken refurbishment works to their kitchen and during this time, PKL provided a multi-unit temporary kitchen which was used to continue foodservice operations.
The temporary facility comprised a production kitchen, pastry kitchen and a preparation area, and was supported by coldrooms, a modular freezer and a dishwashing unit.
Onsite for 12 weeks while the refurbishment was undertaken, the PKL temporary kitchen facility was capable of providing over 500 meals per sitting for residents, functions and staff.
Read all about what PKL has been up to over the last month in our latest Newsletter. Click here to read more!
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