The bread and butter thing eat and greet
I've been delighted to support ‘The Bread and Butter Thing’ both as a trustee and by donating bd2's time to develop their brand, website, marketing communications and videos. The Bread and Butter Thing is a charity dedicated to helping families in financial hardship in deprived areas of Manchester by using a really innovative model, devised by founder Mark Game, who has essentially reinvented the classic food bank approach by going mobile. Mark has formed a partnership with FareShare, a national charity which redistributes surplus food from retailers such as Morrisons, Asda and Booths as well as major food manufacturers.
TBBT has a growing fleet of vans which make daily collections from the nearest FareShare warehouse of whatever produce they’ve been given. This is then taken in the TBBT vans to various community hubs, typically a school, church or community centre, where it is unloaded onto trestle tables. Local volunteers then sort and collate a selection of groceries, from vegetables and fruit to cereals and tinned food, into bags. The provisions always vary and are, inevitably, somewhat random as they’re an assortment of typically short dated stock. Members then receive a week’s worth of fresh food and other essentials in return for a nominal membership fee.
The membership model allows members with very little disposable income to receive a deeply discounted food service to help their income go further. The membership fee has made the charity not just self sustaining, but able to generate a surplus - which is a rare thing for a charity - which is being used to fund more vehicles and extend the model to more community hubs. More vans are being deployed more frequently which can then service more communities.
The charity is coming to the end of its second year which has seen amazing growth and some pretty astounding figures.
As well as being financially better off, members also enjoy improved well-being generally. 75% say they eat better when they access food from the charity and over 90% say they feel more part of the community as a result of TBBT. As numbers of members build, we’re also starting a dialogue with other organisations to address further issues for people in poverty. The long-term aim is to address the premiums that people in poverty pay not just for food but also for loans, energy and other everyday essentials simply because of their personal circumstances.
As a thank you to the volunteers who work in the community hubs, we recently held an 'eat and greet' event at the Inspire community centre in Levenshulme and as Trustees we helped prepare food for the evening which was also a bit of a celebration of the achievements so far, which were outlined by Mark but also the really impressive young team he's built who are delivering the service.
We also launched the new website which is focused on businesses and funders, as opposed to members and the community, to provide information and give advice on how best to support the charity. The site includes a video, also produced by bd2, which shows the service in action.
TBBT has to be rare breed of charity in that it generates a healthy profit from its activities which are then ploughed back into operations. New vans are being ordered to extend the number of hubs we can support which will soon create a complete ring around all of Greater Manchester. Plans to add to the food provision with non-food, such as cleaning materials and hygiene products have also started as have additional services such as debt advice. The model is very replicable so we're also planning to take the idea to other areas and mirror what we've done in Manchester in other 'food desserts' and areas of social deprivation, we're in talks with a consortia of major charities to apply for additional funding to deliver this.