Towards the end of last year (yes, I’m still catching up on my posts!) I had a phone call which left me jumping around the kitchen in delight: I had been selected as one of a handful of businesses to receive financial support and mentoring via the Plunkett Foundation’s Urban Food Routes programme.
Here is what Plunkett say about their programme:
“Urban Food Routes is an initiative which gives expert advice and funding to help small food enterprises in London thrive and benefit their local communities. Urban Food Routes provides business advice to small enterprises that work in all aspects of food, from those that grow and produce it, to those that sell it. The programme aims to help enterprises to become more confident about their sustainability and the impact they can have on their local community, the environment and the contribution they make to the capital’s economy. ”
The timing couldn’t have been better – not only was I in dire need of some equipment and wondering how to raise funds but I was also facing some challenges which I knew would benefit greatly from some expert input. Above all, though, I felt it a real honour that I had been selected and a vote of confidence in the business, particularly my obsession with tackling food waste and determination to make the business as sustainable as possible. As the Urban Food Routes programme is strongly committed to sustainable food and helping businesses to benefit their local community we were on the same page from the start when it came to talking about how to develop the business.
So for the last few months I have been receiving some amazing support for which I am truly grateful. With the help of the grant I have bought an automatic sieve to help deal with the larger quantities of fruit I am now using (the medlar cheese would most certainly not have happened this year without it!) and with the help of the business mentoring I have gone from selling just at farmer’s markets in blocks to now also supplying delicatessens in jars and attracting an increasing number of customers. The support has recently come to a close and I can genuinely say it has been invaluable.
Urban Food Routes is co-ordinated and delivered by the Plunkett Foundation, helped by London Food Link, and funded by Seeds of Change and the Mayor of London