For some, this is the only daily contact they have with the outside world and an invaluable service. This is in addition to running two cafes and supporting those who may require additional care services.
What Fresh Start Meals and Care needed:
Since being established in 2012, Fresh Start Meals and Care has grown from a volunteer-run luncheon club at St Hugh’s Community Centre and a hot meal delivery service, where volunteer drivers would offer signposting services to their customers in need of care assistance, to the running of two busy community cafes in Strand Court assisted living facilities and St Hugh’s Community Centre.
Due to this growth, Sandra Mason, who started the charity, and the board of trustees has been able to offer employment to a number of volunteers. However, they need business support to ensure they are growing the charity in an effective, sustainable way, and to increase employment opportunities in the future.
How E-Factor helped:
In recent months, Fresh Start Meals and Care have been working closely with E-Factor Food Sector Business Advisor, Rachel Appleton to organise the day to day running of the business, helping with HR, recruitment, cashflow, budgeting, and problem solving. Rachel’s role is to support Sandra and the Board of Trustees by looking specifically at the current needs to grow the charity in line with its core values. Together, they are putting policies, procedures and practices in place to ensure the business runs smoothly with the opportunity to grow.
Sandra and her team are in the process of introducing additional bolt-on services such as catering for nurseries, event catering, gardening, a handyman service, and respite signposting. They also have expansion plans for the opening of an ice cream parlour at Strand Court’s Café Hope, so the residents and members of the public can enjoy refreshing treats in the courtyard throughout the summer.
As the charity expands, Fresh Start Meals will continue to recruit more of the volunteer team into paid positions in 2020.
Sandra said: “We’re not just about meals. We offer a real social and care service so it’s important that we find the right, caring people that will fit with the organisation and our values, regardless of their background and previous experience. We’re giving back to the community, giving people proper jobs with purpose, helping to build confidence and build lives.
“We are going to implement Rachel’s advice quickly. As a small organisation, we need to do things properly so we can set procedures for the future, looking at where we are now and where we want to be. We’re now moving on to the next step.”