A COLLABORATION between Forestry England and a hospital trust is causing quite a stir ... with the partnership making it into the finals of a national food award. 

The cooperation sees locally-sourced wild venison put on menus across the East Lancashire Hospital Trust (ELHT). 

Launched in April 2021, around 1,000k of meat from the nearby Forest of Bowland has since been dished out to patients and staff. 

READ MORE: Fifth of Scotland's wild deer to be culled as part of tree protection plan

Now, the collaboration is one of three finalists in the Food Innovation category of the BBC Food and Farming Awards. 

Forestry Journal:

Jim Lee, Forestry England wildlife manager, said: “Forestry England’s venison is 100 per cent wild, lead-free and from well managed forests making it a sustainable meat to eat.

"Controlling deer – whose population is believed to be at its highest level for 1,000 years – is a vital part of our work and having a trusted outlet for venison and seeing it served just a few miles down the road from its source is a huge bonus.

"Having our partnership with ELHT recognised in the BBC Food and Farming awards is an important moment for us as we look at new ways to supply wild venison.”

ELHT’s award-winning catering team have created a range of nutritious and appetising venison dishes which have quickly ranked as favourites among hospital staff and patients.  

Tim Radcliffe, previously ELHT facilities manager and now NHS Net Zero Food programme manager for NHS England, said: “Being judged a finalist in these awards is a wonderful endorsement for the approach we’re taking in this partnership." 

The overall winners of the awards will be announced in November.