Blue Door Nursery

Justine Vedmore, Nursery Director, opened the blue door to her Cardiff nursery in 2006, offering day care to 30 children. Meal times are a key part of the daily routine, reinforcing good table manners, and giving siblings the opportunity to play and eat together. Home cooked meals are enjoyed by all.

Key facts

Silver award holder since May 2016
First independent nursery in Wales to receive a Food for Life Served Here mark
Up to 60 meals freshly prepared daily, plus snacks
(covering breakfast, dinner and tea)
Annual total: over 15,000 a year
Favourite meals: 
Macaroni cheese, with spinach and mushrooms, served with garlic bread;
Roast dinner, with roast potatoes and fresh vegetables and gravy

What was the original motivation for gaining Food for Life Served Here ?
For Justine, it’s personal. ‘My daughter had attended two private day nurseries, and although overall I felt the care was excellent, I didn't feel that the meals she was offered were always conducive to her cognitive and physical development’.

This thought inspired a more focussed approach to food in her own business. ‘One of the cornerstones of good childcare is excellent quality food’, she continues. ‘I wanted the children we cared for to experience a variety of exciting tastes and flavours that were nutritious and appealing’. 

‘When we heard about Food for Life Served Here we felt it was a brilliant opportunity to prove that every mouthful the children eat in Blue Door Nursery is thought and cared about. I then discovered that no other independent Day Nursery in Wales held this award, so I made it our aim to be the first!’

How did you find the process of gaining the award?
The Food for Life Served Here standards are a good framework from which to assess how you’re doing and where you want to go. ‘We were pleased that the process was very thorough and rigorous,’ says Justine. ‘It gave us the opportunity to fully demonstrate that we do purchase good quality ingredients and that we cook from scratch on a daily basis’. 

‘The biggest task was the spend cost analysis of our grocery bills, though we enjoyed doing it because it proved how much of what we already used was good quality, ethically sourced produce’.
Justine Vedmore

How was the inspection itself?
‘The Inspector really put us at ease and was very supportive and complimentary about our menus and processes. We were lucky enough to pass on the first visit, with no issues’.

You have Silver – a great achievement to start your Food for Life Served Here journey. Any plans for the future?

‘We would obviously like to achieve Gold, which we had enough marks for in every area except Free Range Chicken and Pork, so we will look at this for the future’.

What impact has Food for Life Served Here had on the nursery?

Justine knew Blue Door’s food was good before it achieved the award. ‘But we now have irrefutable evidence that what we feed the children is of the highest standard’, in terms of quality, environmental impact and animal welfare standards.

‘Parents now have more than just our reassurance’, continues Justine. ‘They have proof, and this has given us a new burst of enthusiasm. We’re pleased that we now have the tools to be able to demonstrate that we are keeping these standards for the future’.

Ed's note: Recent research by Food For Life found that 83% of respondents value an independent accreditation of food quality for their Early Years setting. Read full report here.

Have there been any unexpected benefits?

‘We feel the award will attract new customers, because a nursery that cares about what they are feeding the children, really cares! Also, being able to say we are the first independent nursery in Wales to receive the award is excellent for our marketing material’.

Keen to become a Food for Life success story too? Enrol today.

"One of the cornerstones of good childcare is excellent quality food"Justine Vedmore (Nursery Director, Blue Door Nursery)