City Corporation’s food school takes shape in Barking and Dagenham paving the way for a future food hub in the east London borough

The City of London Corporation commenced with its visionary food school pilot in Barking and Dagenham, marking a crucial milestone towards the establishment of a permanent food hub in the borough. The pilot, initially launched at the iconic Billingsgate Fish Market, underscores the City Corporation's commitment to fostering a new generation of market traders and enhancing the resilience and prosperity of the local food markets.

The City Corporation is actively developing plans for a state-of-the-art food school at the upcoming markets site in Dagenham. It will play a pivotal role in training future butchers, fishmongers, and fruiterers, ensuring they acquire the essential skills to thrive in the industry. In collaboration with Barking and Dagenham Council, this project aligns with the council's ambitious vision for a food hub in Barking town centre, aiming to bolster health and economic outcomes in the borough.

The session took place at Barking and Dagenham College’s Technical Skills Academy and welcomed students from Barking Abbey secondary school. The program covered diverse topics such as the nutritional benefits of fish, the role of fish in a healthy diet, sustainability in the UK seafood industry, the variety of fish available, and essential skills in choosing and preparing fish.

Chairman of the Markets Board, Henry Pollard said:

"This pilot marks the beginning of a transformative journey for Barking and Dagenham. Our food school is not just about imparting skills; it's about shaping the future of the food industry and contributing to the economic vitality of this vibrant borough."

Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, Cllr Darren Rodwell said:

"Real growth and investment in our borough require an investment in our youth. Educating our youngsters about the vast array of opportunities available and positions them to reap the benefits of our borough's growth."

The relocation of Billingsgate Fish Market and Smithfield Meat Market represents a substantial investment of nearly one billion pounds by the City Corporation in Barking and Dagenham. This move is expected to act as a catalyst, propelling the development of a robust food economy in the local area, supporting town centre activities, and revitalising the entire community.