The Feed, in Norwich, is a community based social enterprise. They aim to help people who have experienced homelessness with training and employment, whilst also working to change the perception of homelessness across the public and private sectors.

I met with Lucy Webb, The Feed’s corporate fundraiser, at their new hub on Prince of Wales Road, which opened just a week ago to discuss all things The Feed. This hub will replace The Feed’s stall on the market place and the various other venues used by the enterprise for training and offices.

LEAP was set up initially in 2008 using National Lottery Funding, which focused on helping people secure long term accommodation, The Feed was established out of this as a social enterprise in 2014. Eventually LEAPs funding faded, however The Feed continued to thrive and registered The Feed Foundation as a charity earlier this year.

The Feed’s mission is to find ways to prevent poverty, hunger and homelessness. The Feed claim that the most common cause of homelessness, as said by homeless people when asked how they ended up on the streets, is relationship breakdown. That can be a relationship with a husband, wife, family member or close friend.

Homelessness, however, can be more complicated than that, it is caused by a variety of circumstances; many people The Feed work with are ex-offenders, have alcohol or drug misuse histories and mental health issues. Regardless of their circumstances, be it the consequence of bad luck or poor life decisions, The Feed believe we should never give up on anyone.

The Feed partnered with Kettle Chips in 2015, which formed a strong link with local suppliers of quality food and enabled the trainees to undertake placements and training with Kettle and Green Farm Coffee. These partnerships allow trainees to gain qualifications, such as a food hygiene certification, and become skilled baristas.

The training academy focuses on equipping people with not just the skills required to work within the catering and hospitality industry, but also to build their confidence with life skills such as managing their money and cooking food on a budget. The scheme also equips trainees with essential employability skills such as CV writing, interview techniques, and the ability to identify suitable opportunities.

The Feed seeks to provide a sense of community by creating a positive network and, most importantly, building confidence and motivation within everyone involved with the enterprise.

The Feed recognise that trainees often face difficult or complicated backgrounds and live in environments, such as hostels, where they are likely to be surrounded by negative influences. By allowing participants within the program to come together with those facing similar challenges in their daily life, but who are also actively taking steps to improve their livelihoods, The Feed  hope that they are able to reduce the impact of negative factors and people within their communities; therefore showing the participants that there is a better option and giving them the confidence to pursue positive changes.

Along with inviting businesses to use them during the day, with a dedicated meeting room that can be booked within the hub and food available from the community café, The Feed hope the hub will be used by community groups outside of its opening times; allowing for a safe space for communities to come together with all the facilities they might need to gather, share food, skills or simply meet in a space away from the hustle and bustle of the city itself.

All graduates from the training program will also have the opportunity to undertake work experience within the café or from partners such as Kettle, which usually lasts for two weeks, allowing participants a chance to put their new founded skills to use, and develop them further before heading into a workplace.

As a newly formed charity The Feed Foundation hopes it will soon be able to help with access to work, through grants for training, paying for transport to interviews, or for interview and work wear, such as chef’s whites, which can prove a financial barrier to someone accessing this field of work for the first time.

In March this year The Feed joined a consortium along with seven other local charities in order to provide support for people with complex needs to achieve long term stability. The newly formed service, Pathways, has been awarded £758,000 of funding by Norwich City Council over the next three years to address rough sleeping through, combining these specialist organisations expertise to take this new service to those who need it most.

The Feed is now located on Prince of Wales Road and its café is open Monday-Friday from 8am-3pm.


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