Ospreys Launch Free Milk Scheme for Wales

Ospreys stars were out in force today (4th May 2010) to launch a free milk scheme for under five's in Wales, as the club teamed up with nursery and pre-schools milk provider, Cool Milk.

Children in early years education in Wales will now be able to drink fresh milk on a daily basis courtesy of Cool Milk, which funds milk purchases and manages all administration on behalf of pre-school providers, to make it easier for them to offer free milk.

Every child under the age of five in Wales is entitled to a free 189ml serving of milk whilst in attendance of a registered daycare provider for two or more hours a day, however offering nursery milk can be an administrative and financial burden; with reimbursement often taking months to be received. In order to combat this, Cool Milk has partnered with local authorities to develop an admin-friendly milk scheme designed to remove the administrative and financial burden, leaving the nurseries more time and money to spend with the children.

Ospreys and Wales rugby legends including Shane Williams, Ryan Jones and Adam Jones were on hand at Cool Milk’s launch event, which took place at the Club’s training ground, Llandarcy Academy, where they joined 36 children from across the Ospreylian region in a rugby skills workshop and rehydrated after their exercise with a carton of free milk courtesy of Cool Milk.

John Sedgwick, Managing Director of Cool Milk, said:

“We’re delighted to have kicked off the Cool Milk Scheme in Wales, with help from the Ospreys here today. It’s been great to see the children here enjoy meeting their sporting heroes as well as getting their free carton of healthy and nutritious milk, which the players appear to have enjoyed as well.

“Cool Milk is also supported by the Wales Pre-School Providers Association (Wales PPA), which has been instrumental in helping us roll out the scheme in Wales. We look forward to bringing free milk to under fives across the country following today’s successful launch.”

The Cool Milk scheme has many other benefits including a free fridge on loan to help store the milk (if the pre-school provider has over 50 children drinking), dedicated customer support, no milk bills from the dairy and free plastic beakers for the children. In addition, in most cases the milk is supplied locally from farmers in Wales. It has long been recognised that milk gives children a much-needed energy boost, which in turn improves concentration, increasing their ability to learn. Milk is also recognised as a valuable source of calcium for healthy teeth and bones, as well as providing much of the nutrition a growing child needs. Cool Milk’s admin-friendly milk scheme is designed to reduce the input required by the nursery or pre-schools to a bare minimum.

Ospreys and Wales star, Shane Williams, said:

“Cool Milk is an extremely worthwhile initiative that in addition to providing young children with nourishment in the form of free daily milk, also aims to promote a healthy and active lifestyle, which is very much in keeping with the values of the Ospreys.

“At the Ospreys we know children often see us as role models, so it’s important that we set a good example by educating youngsters about the benefits of staying fit and well, whether it’s by making sensible drink choices such as milk, or by ensuring they stay active on a daily basis. I’ve enjoyed sampling my milk courtesy of Cool Milk today, and I’m sure pre-schools and nurseries from across Wales will benefit hugely from this scheme.”

Sian CM Davies, Chief Executive Officer, Wales Pre-school Providers Association, said:

“Wales Pre-school Providers Association (Wales PPA) is delighted to be launching our new partnership with Cool Milk here today with the Ospreys and supporting the Welsh Assembly Government and Change 4 life.

“The partnership between Cool Milk and Wales PPA will support our members in encouraging children to drink milk and develop a healthy diet and life style. Cool Milk will take the hassle out of claiming the free 189ml of milk per day funded by the Government for every child under 5 years old in pre-school settings. Having the milk delivered directly without the hassle of collating receipts and endless form filling will give the staff more time to spend planning and playing with the children.

“Many of our members are also involved in national and local health living and eating projects and this initiative will support them in fulfilling much of the criteria of these schemes.

“Obviously the excellent example the Ospreys set in respect of exercise will have a significant impact on many of the children here today and it is a fantastic opportunity for them to train and meet their heroes.”

Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Tony Jewell, said:

"Good nutrition is key to young children's health and milk plays an important part in their diets, providing calcium, vitamins, minerals and other vital nutrients. This scheme will encourage young children to drink milk as part of a healthy balanced diet and will set them in the right direction to having good eating habits throughout the rest of their lives.

"The scheme is in line with the Welsh Assembly Government's Food and Health Guidelines for early years which aims to improve access to healthier food and drink in early years childcare settings. It also supports the change4life campaign that we are running to help families get healthier and fitter."