Community Fed Oldham: A new support programme to resolve food poverty
Four people are smiling to the camera sitting in a shaded area of garden on wooden outdoor furniture

Written by our Consultancy Coordinator Tom Carman, the following text is adapted from the Stir to Action website.

Shared Assets is pleased to share first details of the Community Fed: Oldham project – a calendar of activities for members of the Voluntary, Community, Faith and Social Enterprise sector in Oldham who want to explore and deliver enterprising approaches to resolving food poverty.

Reliance on food banks in Oldham has increased over the last 15 years, a trend that has intensified during the pandemic and with the current cost of living crisis. Community Fed Oldham offers skills and training to Oldham’s voluntary, faith, community and social enterprise sectors to help them to create and deliver alternative solutions to access more local, affordable, healthy and sustainable food. The programme includes workshops, in-person and online events, study visits, and specialist support, ranging from developing community-driven food enterprises, to new business models, partnerships, and markets for local food initiatives.

Inside a polytunnel, three rows of plants and greenery are growing. On the left hand side there are raised beds, in the centre are plants in plant pots on a table and shelving unit, and on the far right, plants appear to be growing from the ground, within plant pots and one plant wrapping round the structure of the polytunnel.
GROW Oldham - Grassroots Oldham Women's Enterprise

How do I sign up?

Community Fed has several FREE workshops, events, study visits and more to get involved with. The first workshop is open for booking, and we’re arranging details for the rest of the programme of the activities, so watch this space as more information becomes available.

Now booking:

Introduction to governance models of food provision with Mark Simmonds

  • When: Monday 19 September, 09:30 - 13:00
  • What: In-person Workshop
  • By who? Mark Simmonds, Co-op Culture  
  • Where: GROW Oldham (Grassroots Oldham Women's) Enterprise, head to the end of 13 Marlborough Drive, Failsworth M35 0LP

Using real life examples, the workshop introduces the different business and governance models used in UK community food initiatives, from charitable food access projects to co-operative farms. If you register for this event, our study visit in October to a successful Greater Manchester-based catering social enterprise may also interest you (booking opens soon).

What to expect

  • An overview of the many and varied different governance models available to community food enterprises.
  • An overview of the different business models, using real examples, and how this affects the choice of governance model.
  • Advice about how to develop a viable and democratically managed food enterprise.
  • Space for reflections on ways in which you can apply the above to your own projects or business ideas.

What you'll leave with

  • An understanding of various democratically-run enterprise models
  • Approaches for overcoming challenges you may face when establishing your own business using the ideas you engage with
  • An action plan to begin to develop your own food business
  • Knowledge of what further support you need to develop your own democratically run food business and where to find it
  • Hot drinks and snacks provided, along with workshop resources

Click here to book your free space now!

GROW Oldham is pictured with two polytunnels pictured and a mass of bright green crop growing in the forefront, beside a gravel path.
Visit GROW Oldham at the event on the 19th September.

Who is Community Fed: Oldham for?

  • Are you working for the Voluntary, Charitable, Faith or Social Enterprise Sector in Oldham or surrounding area?
  • Do you have an idea for a food venture or food project that takes an enterprising approach?
  • Are you running an existing food venture and would like to improve how you work or put your resources to a new activity or project
  • Are you working for a food bank, food pantry, mutual aid organisation, or coordinating emergency food provision?  Are you curious to learn about putting in place longer term solutions to food poverty?

If you’ve answered yes to some or all of these questions, then Community Fed workshops, study visits, events and webinars may be for you. If you'd like to be notified of new Community Fed events and activities, sign up with your email address here.

...and who might Community Fed not be for?

  • These workshops and events are probably not for you if you are experiencing food poverty or hunger and are looking for immediate food relief.  We have deep sympathy with you if you are in hunger and would encourage you to contact your local food bank and other support agencies to get the immediate help you need.
  • Similarly, if you are wanting to expand an existing food bank/food pantry/mutual aid project, the activities probably won’t be for you.  The project has an aim of supporting long term solutions to food poverty using enterprising approaches, so the content of events and activities will help participants to achieve this goal.
  • If your work takes place a long way outside of Oldham, this might not be for you.  We’ve consulted with lots of people in the Oldham area working on resolving food poverty, so tailored the activities to local needs.  We also expect a lot of participants to be based near to or within Oldham and to build connections and food networks that support one another.

Please remember that you can sign up to as many events as you like - if you’ve been inspired by one event, then you may like to attend another to build your knowledge and get to meet new people. In-person event places are limited, so book as soon as you can or get in touch with to see if the event matches your needs. We look forward to seeing you as we fill the events calendar!

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We’re always keen to hear from people with interesting projects or doing similar work. Get in touch for a conversation about how we might collaborate.

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