THE REASON FOR PREP TABLE
Working in partnership with organisations who support people rough sleeping, in temporary and supported accommodation; we use food as a tool to bring people together, improve health, build confidence and skills; and to reach a point where they can engage with other services. We see the value in supporting already established organisations to provide food, socials, events, opportunities and training to those who they support. It is about encouraging people and organisations to work with each other to achieve similar goals.
We aim to be a central organisation who working with partners can reduce food poverty, minimise food waste and provide access to fresh, healthy meals for homeless and those living in supported or temporary accommodation. It is our belief that everyone, regardless of their housing situation should be able to sit down and enjoy a healthy, wholesome meal with others.
After being awarded £5,000 Start It funds from First Port, I went from running small community dining events to forming strong partnerships with many incredible organisations, who support people who are rough sleeping, or in temporary or supported accommodation.
I have learnt so much from the staff and the structure of these organisations and from the people who we work together to support. I have also learnt an incredible amount from our funders, the groups of which we are members, and other social enterprises. I could not have done this without being lucky enough to have my mentors. Legal structures, finance, funding applications, monitoring social impact, policies and procedures and employing people are examples of what I have had to learn over the past year.
Among the biggest challenges has been not having a base for the enterprising side of the business. Learning so much in a very short space of time whilst doing the day to day work was also very tough - and holidays, friendships and relationships with family had to take a back seat. It was also hard living off £700 a month: paying rent and trying to survive whilst working every day of the week. Thankfully that challenge was ended when, in August 2018, First Port awarded me £20,000 for a salary, with a further £5,000 towards another hire. I was able to look after myself a bit more, and to focus only on those projects and businesses which are closely in line with the mission of Prep Table.
At the same time - two days prior to be exact - I pitched to a panel of 9 people, after a 3 month programme with Big Issue Invest Power Up Scotland. There, Prep Table was awarded investment of £50,000. This investment was given largely because of the chance of a sustainable business model through a café space at the training centre for NHS Lothian - with a grant of nearly £70,000 from Edinburgh Lothian Health Foundation.
This allowed me to employ Prep Table’s first new staff member - we will be employing another 3 people who are supported by the organisations we work with. We are looking forward to having a base to fully utilise food surplus, and to co-ordinate food to make sure nowhere has too little or too much; to hold stock; to work with local producers and suppliers; to invite those we work with within organisations to come for added experience, voluntary and employment positions, and to act as an example of how being a chef really can be one of the best jobs in the world.
PARTNERS, FRIENDS, AND FUNDERS
PREP TABLE PARTNERS
We work alongside Rock Trust, managing their food and running their new catering academy. This includes working with young people, to provide delivery or takeaway main meals and desserts for 40 people living in temporary accommodation.
We provide a two-course cultural meal at Streetwork Holyrood Road every 2 weeks and cook breakfast twice a week.
We provide a two-course cooked lunch at SA Niddry Street, twice a week and invite those who use the service to help create the meals. We’re also working on direct donations together, for supporters to help to fund our work together with vouchers, equipment and goods.
We run a one-day budget cooking group at FourSquare with their Springboard project. We engage with those on the group to find out what they’d like to learn and to eat and tailor the group accordingly.
FRIENDS OF THE PREP TABLE
We would not be where we are now without the incredible support we've received from Social Firms. Whether it's networking, moral support, access to funding streams, Social Firms Scotland have excelled in each and allowed us to progress considerably in a very short space of time.
Grassmarket have been great mentors to us from early on and built us our beautiful serving station for our new premises.
We are privileged to be supporting Kettle Chef in his drive to allow people in B&B’s and hostels with limited resources, to make exciting food for themselves. We see this as a hugely valuable project and see it as our duty to offer mentorship and small financial support to a young man with a huge future ahead of him.
Having completed invaluable 3 months mentoring and support with Big Issue Invest Power Up, we were awarded a £50,000 investment along with continued support.
Firstport are our partners, funders and business advisors. They are integral to the foundations and growth of Prep Table.
WHAT WE'RE ALL ABOUT