Wokingham Today

Asking what’s for lunch now takes Skill


CHILDREN asking what’s for dinner has been given a 21st century twist thanks to a Wokingham mum.

Parents of pupils who attend a Wokingham borough council primary school that uses Caterlink catering services can now add a ‘skill’ to their Amazon Alexa. All they have to do is ask it: “Alexa, ask school dinners, what’s for lunch tomorrow?’ and they will be presented with the menu.

They can also ask the virtual assistant what will be on the menu on the same day or on a named day.

Amazon launched Alexa last year and is used on its Echo technology. Users buy the voice-activated machines for their home and, thanks to the internet, can ask it to order items from the internet, check news headlines or get it to play music.

The skills are a set of commands that customers can create to provide a more personalis­ed experience or to share informatio­n in another way.

Barkham mum Emma Button has created the Skill, called Wokingham Borough School Dinners, initially to help her own children who attend the Coombes CE Primary School, but it will now help the borough’s parents find out what’s on the menu.

“I spent half a day watching training tools and then I spent close to a day writing it myself.” Ms Button said. “It was quite straightfo­rward.

“I’m really pleased as I can see it helping other people. At the start, I just wanted to make it easier for my two daughters for them to find out what was for lunch that day rather than asking me.

“Once I did it I realised that I was finding it useful I made it available to other people at my local school and the response I got was very positive, so the very next day I updated it so it could cover the whole of Wokingham.”

And in a short space of time, almost 100 families have downloaded and used the Skill – something that pleases Ms Button, whose day job is a computer programmer.

“That’s why I write software, that feeling that I’ve made this and I’ve helped someone out,” she said.

Ms Button said the Skill takes around two minutes to download and put into use.

And the idea has been praised by the council.

Cllr Mark Ashwell, Executive Member for Children’s Services, said: “What a wonderful initiative – thank you Emma for creating something that all parents can share.

“This is using the most up-todate technology to encourage their children to enjoy healthy eating at school.”

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom