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foodbank 246Foodbank involvement - changing local businesses?

I was having a conversation with a church leader some time back about social enterprise. He then went on to talk about the difficulty with financially sustaining some ‘community franchises’ eg CAP, foodbank, etc. His church runs a foodbank as well as other things. These are primarily seen as church funded and volunteer staffed as opposed to the business model of a social enterprise.

So we had a bit of a talk about this (including how often he preached on generous giving). I had seen some possibilities for creating income for some community franchises but we agreed it was very difficult to get an income stream.

Certainly, foodbanks have gained the support of the large supermarkets but is there more that we can do to connect to local businesses? Is there more we can do to help sustainability?

One idea we had that could be worthy of exploration is using a foodbank for 'corporate team building sessions'. Rather than management teams of local businesses or public service organisations going for events like go-carting or assault courses (you only have to do a web search to see the choices), why not have a structured exercise at the foodbank?
Let's develop that idea some more. The exercise would be for small teams from companies of 4-10 people. A foodbank would only have max of 1 half-day session slot to avoid disturbing operations too much. It could be held once or twice per month.
The half day would consist of:

  • Briefing session.
  • Involvement in a team way in 3 areas of operations:
    • Food collection – could be competitive – split into 2 teams. Collect most 'wins'.
    • Food sorting
    • Food distribution - perhaps a volunteer and a client could tell their stories
  • Debrief over a sandwich lunch.

The exercise would tick several boxes:

  • For company
    • Team building
    • Increased Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
  • For foodbank
    • Possible recruitment of corporate donors
    • Income stream - this could be by donation but companies do pay money for these exercises. Think £100 per person, per session. For a team of 10 people, that's £1000.
  • For church
    • Increased visibility
    • Building relationships with local community
  • For individuals
    • Personal (and spiritual) development


Are you willing to give this a try?

If you are, please let me know how you get on.

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Geoff Knott, 18/05/2016

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