Get to know the National Association of Care Catering

As Care Home Catering partners with the National Association of Care Catering (NACC), we speak to Sue Cawthray, its national chair, Nick Dutton, deputy chair, and Judith Scurr, national secretary, about its vital work.

Let’s start with an overview – what is the NACC and what does it do?

S: The NACC is an organisation that supports everybody who works within the care catering sector, whether that’s a supplier, a provider or stakeholder that has an interest in providing good nutrition to people who live in care settings. Equally importantly, it also supports people who work in care settings to provide residents a first class service.

The NACC provides a voice for our members and the care catering sector at government level, lobbying parliament and raising awareness of the value of care catering within society and the challenges faced. Our patron, Baroness Barker, is a great supporter of what we do. She understands the vital role care caterers play and champions our work and causes wherever possible.

What support can you offer members and what is on the NACC diary this year?

N: It’s a case of getting back to normal this year. We have had virtual seminars over the last two years, but now we are getting back to the normal NACC and being more regionalised. We have six regions and we have three seminars in each region every year, which we hope to return to. Of course, the national connections established across the regions over the last two years will continue to be nurtured alongside this – we all need to work together.

J: Some legislation is different in Wales and Scotland, for example, so the regional officers are very up to date with what’s happening in their areas.

N: On a national scale, we run the Care Chef of the Year, our Training and Development Forum [read more about both events in our news pages] and Meals on Wheels Week. With the Care Chef of the Year competition, we will have six live regional heats, so people can come along in the different regions and see the standards of cooking.

The NACC's Training and Development Forum

Why does the care catering sector need its own organisation?

S: The sector has its own challenges. We are a diverse sector, providing different meals for different people, in homes, extra care and people living in their own homes, for example. To have an organisation so we can all come together and support each other in a friendly way is really, really important.

N: There’s a lot of organisations to support care in general, but for chefs in care homes and meals on wheels providers we are the only one. Care home catering is often overlooked and the skill it takes and the impact it has on the physical and emotional wellbeing of residents is underappreciated.

S: It’s about getting our care and catering staff working together, as there can sometimes be a divide.

How has care catering changed in recent years?

S: The sector has changed hugely. There are more and more challenges for us – special diets, allergies, documentation, CQC inspections and all the things we have to tick boxes for to keep our people safe and fed.

J: People’s expectations are also different. Their expectations of food in care are much higher now, and rightly so. We have more skilled chefs who are really listening to what residents want. We don’t tend to have as many cooks anymore, they are chefs.

If there is one thing you would like Care Home Catering readers to know about the NACC, what would it be?

N: We are is a group of volunteers. We don’t do this for personal gain, we are a group of people who care very much and believe in the power of food in making a difference in care homes. We want to help the sector get better in terms of the food that’s provided to fantastic people.

S: This is all about encouraging people to work in our sector. We think it’s a wonderful sector to work in. It’s about raising the profile and raising the importance of it, making a difference to the people we look after everyday.

J: It really does make a difference. Some residents just don’t come out of their rooms, they can become quite isolated, the same as in the community, and we can provide a lovely meal they want to come and enjoy. If we, as volunteers, can make that much of a difference, even to two or three people, then it's really worth it.

For more details and to find support, visit

A wealth of experience

The NACC is headed up by people with first-hand experience of the sector. Cawthray joined care 28 years ago and is now in her third term as national chair. She is chief executive of Harrogate Neighbours, which offers care services including residential and hot meals delivery. Dutton has been in the sector for seven years and is operations manager at the family-run Primrose Bank care home near Blackpool. Scurr is a qualified nurse and has been a registered manager on and off for 30 years around Yorkshire, currently with Crown Care.

Introducing the regions

The NACC has six proactive regions which provide a local focus for Scotland, Wales, North, Midlands, South East and the South West. We have included the names of each chair below, as well as contact details to get in touch with your local team.

Scotland – Stuart Middleton -- [email protected]

Wales – Stephen Simons – [email protected]

North – David Barker – [email protected]

Midlands – Gareth Cartledge – [email protected]

South East – Mark Taylor – [email protected]

South West – Anne Dudley – [email protected]

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