A cafe which recently opened on Prince of Wales Road in Norwich is a social enterprise business aimed at preventing poverty and homelessness in the city.
It’s called The Feed and it provides top quality food sourced from local suppliers while training and helping people to get back into work.
It’s near Norwich train station and open from 8am every weekday morning, so it’s a great place to quickly grab breakfast and support a fantastic cause.
Lucy Webb is the Operations Manager.
This is her story.
Lucy, can you explain the concept of The Feed?
The Feed is a social enterprise catering business and cafe in Norwich which aims to help prevent poverty and homelessness in the city. Our food is of an excellent quality and 100% of our profits go to our charity – The Feed Foundation, which supports a variety of projects.
How long have you worked there?
I’ve been here a year, I come from a corporate background, but one day I woke up and had an epiphany, that I wanted to do more with my career and help other people.
How did The Feed begin?
It was created in March 2014 off the back of a lottery funded organisation called Leap, about employability, housing advice and support. They set up The Feed as a social enterprise. When Leap disbanded, The Feed carried on. Our entire hub is now based at the location on Prince of Wales Road, including the catering and training academy. We use the business to train people.
Who do you support through The Feed?
I’ve never felt so great! I’m back on my feet, I’ve got a life again and I’ve never looked back.”
We run a catering training academy which is open to anybody who faces a barrier to employment; they may have experienced homelessness, or find themselves in supported accommodation. They may have had alcohol and drug addiction or suffered some kind of trauma in their past. We also support people with learning difficulties, anyone who faces a barrier and needs support getting into work.
Our training provides people with the skills required to work in the food and hospitality industry as well as improving confidence, motivation and employability skills.
Can people refer themselves to you? How does it work?
You can call or email us and we have an application form online via our website: https://thefeed.org.uk/training/
How many people do you train at The Feed?
I now have a job. The whole experience has been so great, so thank you for everything.”
We train 6 people per week and it’s a 4 week training course and 4 weeks of work experience. After the 8 weeks, we don’t just stop there, we help people to move on by pointing them in the right direction to benefit from other help and support.
What kind of feedback have you had?
We’ve had some great feedback actually. Most people like the fact they are supporting a social enterprise and good feedback gives our trainees so much confidence.
Who are your main charity supporters?
Our charity partner is Kettle chips, our logo is on their Norfolk Bacon and Maple Syrup Crisps packs. Every time you buy a pack, we get some money. The Kettle Chips partnership is very important. They help to fund The Feed Academy, offer work experience, provide training sessions and help raise awareness. The Warwick Street social Partnership support us with fundraising and training and we received a substantial donation from The Virgin Money foundation to enable us to open our base and Aviva Norwich have offered us time from their marketing department. There’s more information on our partners here: https://thefeed.org.uk/about/supporters/
When did the cafe open and what’s on the menu?
Our cafe opened in November 2018. We’re open Monday to Friday from 8am to 3pm, it’s a good place to get breakfast on the way to work or the train station. We sell great coffees, hot drinks, cold drinks, freshly made ciabatta sandwiches, jacket potatoes and cakes. We do breakfast deals and we have a tap water refill, so bring your own bottles and fill up. We also do discounts for people who come with their own cups.
What’s your vision for The Feed in the future?
I would like to develop the cafe, make the most of where we are by establishing sandwich runs, – we do some at the moment which is led by volunteers, and I’d like to expand breakfast and lunch at the cafe.
For more information:
You can find The Feed cafe at 78-80 Prince of Wales Road, Norwich NR1 1NJ
8am-3pm Monday-Friday. 100% of profits go to charity. Please do support this wonderful social enterprise.
To find out more about training: Email info@the feed.org.uk or Tel: 01603 850 447