Posts Tagged ‘school meals’

NeverSeconds exceeds nine million hits

December 31, 2012
Martha's younger sister playing with the kids

Martha’s younger sister Polly playing with the kids

Martha relaxing after handing out backpacks

Martha relaxing after handing out backpacks

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. — Margaret Mead

Martha is such an inspiration to anyone who wants to make a difference. She’s a true hero. — Jamie Oliver

When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. — Paulo Coelho

An amazing year for Martha Payne, who who eight months ago as a nine-year old Scottish schoolgirl set up a food blog to rate her school dinners. Little did she know what the year would bring.

Although she set up her blog NeverSeconds at the end of April, her first real post was early May. That first entry saw over 35,000 visits to her blog.

A blog that was well written, thoughtful. Something for everyone to be proud of. Not though Argyll and Bute Council. Instead of highlighting her as an example of the high standard of education in Scotland, they lied, they smeared the family and bully-boys at the council tried to shut her blog down.

They picked on the wrong person. Martha stood firm. She was honoured by Liberty for standing up for free speech.

Argyll and Bute Council have still to apologise for bullying a nine-year-old schoolgirl, for lying, for smearing a decent family.

Not content with writing about her school dinners she shared her blog with others. She invited schoolchildren from around the world to write guest blogs. When they did, they only served to emphasise how disgusting were the school dinners in Scotland. She inspired others to write blogs, to campaign for better conditions in their schools. She used her bog to raise money via Mary’s Meals for schoolchildren in Malawi.

Martha was invited to Malawi to inaugurate a school kitchen for which she had raised the money. She and her family travelled to Malawi.

With her father David, Martha has co-authored a book NeverSeconds which documents her eventful year. For each copy sold, 25 meals for Malawi.

Shame on Waterstone’s, a disgrace as a bookshop chain, better described as a chain that sells books, for failing to have NeverSeconds on display, whose staff have not a clue.

Martha is not the only person to be treated in a disgraceful manner by Waterstone’s. Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho got the same treatment last year when he released Aleph.

Martha has featured in most of the year end reviews for 2012.

As the year draws to a close, Cargo Publishing are to be praised for their generosity in making NeverSeconds available for download at 99p. In reality this is a donation of 25 meals to Malawi with a free copy of NeverSeconds.

As the minutes drain away from the final hours of 2012, what better way to thank Martha than to see her blog pass nine million visits.

Martha is the good news story of 2012. Please tell all your friends.

Well done Martha. We are all very proud of you. Every award you received during the year was well and truly deserved.

Never let it be said one person cannot achieve a lot. This is what Martha achieved in 2012. What are you going to achieve in 2013?

BBC Scotland: Martha and David Payne discuss NeverSeconds

December 30, 2012

Martha’s Story broadcast BBC Radio Scotland, BBC at its best, a pleasant change from the usual air-headed presenters.

The focus different to Martha, Meals and Malawi. This time not on Malawi, but on what was going on behind the scenes of NeverSeconds. In essence an overview of what you will find in the book NeverSeconds, co-written by Martha and David Payne.

Absolutely amazing, NeverSeconds achieved 35,000 hits on the first day.

Jaw dropping listening to the lying council official blatanly lie about Martha. What sort of low life life bullies a nine-year-old schoolgirl? What action has been taken against this dishonest jobsworth?

Appalling the way Argyll and Bute Council tried to paint Martha and her family as a bad family.

When there was a crude attempt to shut down the blog, Argyll and Bute Council once again blatantly lied, putting out a press release that was a pack of lies in a crude attempt attempt to discredit Martha and her blog. Then to reinforce their dishonesty they replaced overwrote the press release with a second press release. But not before the first press release was grabbed.

What made this disgraceful council think they could get away with it?

Martha was made of sterner stuff, and stood up to the bully-boys at Argyll and Bute Council, went on to raise money for a school kitchen in Malawi.

A Freedom of Information request served on Argyll and Bute Council would be quite revealing. Heads should roll, not only the lying official who tried to blacken the name of Martha.

Sally Loudon, Chief Executive of Argyll and Bute Council, has yet to issue an apology.

Martha’s Story broadcast BBC Radio Scotland 1030 Sunday 30 December 2012 and 0703 Tuesday 1 Jan 2013.

NeverSeconds co-authored by Martha and David Payne goes into more details the story behind Martha’s story.

Shame on Waterstone’s, the staff not a clue NeverSeconds, not on display either in store or in the window. How can you claim to a be a book chain and know absolutely nothing about a book that has had more media attention than anything this year?

NeverSeconds is for 12 days available for download from Amazon at 99p. Double good news, it will still pay for 25 dinners in Africa.

Amazon e-book download is a propriety format. Download and install Calibre to manage e-books, which can also be used to convert format to ePub format which is an Open Source non-propriety format used by e-readers such as Kobo.

Please do get get too carried away. The bargain download on NeverSeconds is thanks to Cargo Publishing. Lest we forget, Amazon is a tax dodger for which we all pay.

Pay Your Taxes by Asher Gowan is available for free download from Amazon until 1 January 2013.

Get downloading, pass to your friends, let’s get NeverSeconds and Pay Your Taxes into the Top Two places on Amazon.

BBC produce an excellent documentary and once again only held on-line for seven days!


June 15, 2012
School Dinner Blogger - 9 yr old Martha Payne from Argyll

School Dinner Blogger – 9 yr old Martha Payne from Argyll

Mary's Meals

Martha's school dinner

Martha’s school dinner

 The pizza was alright but I'd have enjoyed more than 1 croquet. I'm a growing kid and I need to concentrate all afternoon and I cant do it on 1 croquette. Do any of you think you could?

The pizza was alright but I’d have enjoyed more than 1 croquet. I’m a growing kid and I need to concentrate all afternoon and I cant do it on 1 croquette. Do any of you think you could? — Martha

My dad says I should call myself Veritas Ex Gustu, truth from tasting in Latin but who knows Latin? You can call me Veg. — Martha Payne

Shocking but inspirational blog. Keep going. Big love from Jamie x. — Jamie Oliver

Stay strong Martha. — Jamie Oliver

When children show initiative, you encourage them. You do not discourage. What you never do is punish.

When my young friend Alice asked me to show her how to set up a blog, I was only too happy to help her. She went home, and I was pleased to see within a couple of hours she had a blog alicemck up and running.

The food the British shovel into the mouths of children is a national disgrace. Taking children to the local McVomit is not a treat, it is child abuse.

The UK is suffering a national epidemic of childhood obesity. Kids are suffering from Type II diabetes, a disease of late middle age.

Jamie Oliver highlighted that school dinners are a national disgrace. When he visited a township in South Africa the women were shocked by what was served in England for school dinners.

School dinners are important. If children are not getting quality food their education suffers. What children eat, learning how to cook, a basic life skill, should form part of their education. For many children from poor families, school dinner is the only opportunity they have to eat a decent meal during the day.

A couple of years ago I was in an Italian tea shop in Alton. A couple of families were there with their children. The children were clearly enjoying their food.

I spoke with the children, and yes, they were enjoying their food. Their parents said they loved going there for a meal.

Nine-year-old Martha Payne writes a blog NeverSeconds about her school meals, she takes photos of her dinner and rates it.

An activity one would think she would be praised for, encouraged, thanks from a grateful local authority for providing useful feedback.

But oh no. The pathetic local jobsworth at Argyll and Bute council acting like the local Stasi banned her from taking photos of her school dinner. They issued a statement which was a vicious attack on a nine-year-old girl, had her called in to see her head teacher. If this is not school bullying I do not know what is. If nothing else it demonstrates the mindset of the local jobsworth.

This is what she wrote yesterday:


This morning in maths I got taken out of class by my head teacher and taken to her office. I was told that I could not take any more photos of my school dinners because of a headline in a newspaper today.

I only write my blog not newspapers and I am sad I am no longer allowed to take photos. I will miss sharing and rating my school dinners and I’ll miss seeing the dinners you send me too. I don’t think I will be able to finish raising enough money for a kitchen for Mary’s Meals either.


plus an addition from her father:

Veg’s Dad, Dave, here. I felt it’s important to add a few bits of info to the blog tonight. Martha’s school have been brilliant and supportive from the beginning and I’d like to thank them all. I contacted Argyll and Bute Council when Martha told me what happened at school today and they told me it was their decision to ban Martha’s photography.

It is a shame that a blog that today went through 2 million hits, which has inspired debates at home and abroad and raised nearly £2000 for charity is forced to end.

Dave Payne

Children only get one chance at an education. What they say matters!

Nick Nairn, the celebrity chef, led criticism of the ban, saying it was “incredibly short-sighted” to punish someone who was a force for good and the decision reminded him of something that would happen in Communist China.

Martha has done a fantastic job. All the way through this she has been incredibly fair and now she’s been punished for something that she had no hand in whatsoever and that makes me cross.

I have no idea what process the council went through, but it just seems to me incredibly short-sighted to penalise a girl who’s actually been a force for good and a force for change by slapping her down and silencing her. If that had happened in China, we would be up in arms about it.

Ian Rankin, the best-selling crime author, tweeted to Argyll and Bute Council: I spent yesterday trying to enthuse school pupils about creativity and the written word. So thanks a lot.

Such has been the public outcry at the bullying of Martha Payne by the local jobsworth at Argyll and Bute council, that the leader of the council has had to intervene and live on BBC Radio 4 World at One lunchtime news say yes, she can continue to photograph her school dinners.

I have read her blog, and it is brilliant! She is articulate, she has a clever way of rating her meals, her photography is good (and when she forgets her camera she draws her dinner).

Martha does not only write about her dinner and rate it, she asks questions of the contents, rates it on health grounds, asks where it is sourced.

Martha was not only writing about her school dinners, she was posting pictures that other kids had taken at other schools, and she was using her blog to raise money for a charity in Africa, Mary’s Meals.

Last year my friends and I started a club, which the school let us run, called Charity Children. We raised money for Mary’s Meals. In our first sale we raised £70 in three hours which is enough to feed 7 children school lunches for a WHOLE YEAR! A lot of kids go to school everyday just for the food. Each lunch costs 6p to make.

The school dinners look singularly unappetising. Would you pay £2 for one of these dinners? I know I would not. Note the contrast between her school dinners and those kids around the world have sent to her.

I wonder what the jobsworth at the local council has for dinner? I do not know what the dinners are like in Lincolnshire schools, but I do know what they are like in the County Restaurant, the staff canteen at County Council HQ. They are excellent and very good value for money. But then they have to be as the chief executive and senior councillors eat there. Maybe the jobsworth at Argyll and Bute should try eating what Martha and her school friends are served.

Her parents must be very proud of her.

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