Cherkizovo Group and Smenka, a social initiative with a show on YouTube, have opened a renovated canteen at the school in Sosnovka, Penza Region. Students can now have breakfast and lunch in a bright new space with a modern and comfortable interior. Thanks to the healthy diet information boards created with the support of Rospotrebnadzor’s Healthy Eating initiative, spending time in the canteen has become not only more enjoyable but also informative.
The secondary school in Sosnovka, Bessonovsky District, Penza Region, was one of the three schools to win the contest to renovate school canteens. The contest was run by Cherkizovo and Smenka in the fall of 2022, with a total of 494 applications submitted by schools across Russia. Founded in 1982, the Sosnovka school currently has 290 students. Renovation of the canteen began in mid-March and lasted almost a month. All this time, the schoolkids, their parents and teachers were looking forward to seeing the results.
The canteen recently reopened its doors to children. Representatives of Cherkizovo, Smenka, and Bessonovsky District officials could see the reaction, which was very emotional one: the space changed beyond recognition, with students saying to each other that it looked more like a café than a canteen.
Canteen at the school in Sosnovka before renovation
The renovation radically transformed the canteen. It took a lot of time to refurbish the floor: the workers basically had to make it from scratch. The crew supervised by the Smenka team also replaced all the furniture, walls, plumbing and utensils, and installed new plastic windows and doors.
The canteen design elements were carefully selected to create the most comfortable environment for children. In line with this approach, the walls were covered with green and orange tiles, as the green color has a calming effect on human mind and is associated with freshness, vegetables and greens, while the orange color is uplifting and improves digestion.
Another important part of the canteen design is information boards that tell students about the basic rules of a healthy and nutritious diet. The boards were created with active support of Rospotrebnadzor’s Healthy Eating initiative, part of the Demography national project, of which Cherkizovo Group has been a partner since 2020.
“When planning our involvement with the renovation project, we wanted to make sure that the school canteens not only conform to current trends in interior design but also convey the modern ideas of healthy eating, because we know that eating habits are formed early in life. I think the experience of renovating the first of the three schools shows that we have achieved our goal,” says Vsevolod Gribchenkov, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development at Cherkizovo Group.
“One of the important goals of Rospotrebnadzor’s Healthy Eating initiative is to promote the principles of a nutritious and balanced diet among children and youth. To this end, we hold a large number of events, including training courses for improving eating habits of schoolchildren, as well as preparing informational materials to help students quickly and easily remember the basic rules of healthy eating. Our campaign implemented jointly with Cherkizovo Group, the project partner, serves this purpose. The information boards prepared with the involvement of our project experts provide schoolkids with basic knowledge about healthy and balanced diets in an easy and entertaining way,” comments Yekaterina Golovkova, a Rospotrebnadzor expert, Deputy Head of the Center for Hygienic Education of the Population, and information supervisor of Healthy Eating.
“I used to be a teacher myself, so I understand the huge importance of the space where learning takes place and interaction and friendship between children begin. A school should not be a place you want to run away from — instead, it should attract kids, who spend eleven years of their life there, and teachers, who work at school even longer. We know that we are succeeding in changing attitudes toward school through the renovation of classrooms and now the canteens as well,” says Arina Nuriakhmetova, a co-founder of Smenka.