The Feed Academy thriving thanks to Community Challenge Fund grant

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Popular Norwich-based social enterprise sandwich business, The Feed, has been transformed by a grant from New Anglia LEP’s Community Challenge Fund and is now looking forward to growing its training academy.

The grant of £20,000 was awarded to The Feed for use over the last year to transform their training academy and to enable the social enterprise to get 33 people work-ready and 11 into paid employment. The social enterprise works with people who have been homeless or have had other major barriers to employment.

Matt Townsend, The Feed’s Chief Executive commented: “A year ago we were losing the kitchen where we ran the academy, our chef was leaving and our largest grant fund was coming to an end.”

“However, the New Anglia LEP funding enabled us to find a temporary training kitchen and recruit new staff with a background in training. Our training courses were already successful but now we have rewritten them to make them even better and we are getting amazing feedback from our trainees who are learning kitchen and customer service skills but also improving their confidence. Last week we saw four more trainees graduate and all were buzzing about the things they had learned.”

The Feed Academy training includes visits to Norfolk food businesses, including a tour of the Kettle Chips factory, a visit to the Green Farm coffee roastery and a chance to meet award winning Chef Daniel Smith at the Warwick St Social restaurant. There are plans to grow The Feed Academy further over the coming year so that more people can benefit from their training, and have registered a charity to help generate funding.

Chris Starkie, Chief Executive of New Anglia LEP, commented: “We are proud to have supported The Feed during this period where they have turned challenges into opportunities to grow. The Feed are a great example of the voluntary and community sector coming together with strong regional businesses to equip people with skills and confidence for the jobs that are available.”

The Community Challenge Fund supports exciting and creative projects that help the most disadvantaged people in society to get back into work or become work ready.

The project is delivered in partnership with Norfolk and Suffolk Community Foundations. It has worked with more than 30 organisations from the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS), supporting back-to-work projects with diverse themes including construction, catering, sport, farming, music and media production. To date, the Fund has awarded £605,000 to projects which have pledged to help 724 people become work-ready and support 279 into paid employment.

In early 2018, New Anglia LEP committed a further £250,000 to run the Community Challenge Fund into a fourth year.

You can find out more about the Community Challenge Fund here

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