Eating alone is often a reality for elderly people within our communities, who can end up feeling isolated from the rest of the world. Dartmoor Community Kitchen Hub (DCKH) combats this issue by distributing protein-packed ready meals, targeting the elderly in rural areas. This innovative Community Interest Company has recently received £70,000 from Resonance, just seven months after an earlier investment from the Health & Wellbeing Challenge Fund (South West) (H&WCF) of £75,000 which helped them to get started.
Almost one in three people over 65 years old are at risk of, or suffer from, malnutrition. That’s why DCKH founder and MBE recipient Stella West-Harling combined her compassion for helping her neighbours with forty years of award-winning work in the food industry to cook up the social enterprise.
Why do we overlook those in our community who are stoic in the face of grief and loss of movement, sight and hearing? And the most poignant part is that they never want to make a fuss. Thanks to the Health & Wellbeing Challenge Fund (South West), managed by social impact investment company Resonance, the community kitchen is flourishing.
“I found Resonance very effective and efficient. They’re very nice people, and that to me is really important,” says Managing Director Peter Clarke. “It is vital that we have Resonance to help social enterprises tackle issues of today. Without support, not-for-profits will struggle. Resonance is easy to work with, and they care about what you’re doing.”
After trying out their nutritious meals in a care home setting successfully, the next step was to set up a café in the local area of Bovey Tracey. This means customers now have a centralized point for eating in a community setting.
Locals are buzzing. “What a great use of the old NatWest bank!” says a customer. “It’s a great place for people of our age to go.” Another mentions, “This food looks like food should do.” And the meals taste good. Our team can confirm that!
Not only is the café affordable and inclusive, but the bigger premises allow the organization to double its capacity and sell the ready meals (in sustainable packaging, of course). The team go above and beyond to deliver: they featured on ITV after using quad bikes to get through to their clients during a snow storm.
“It’s a fantastic example of a business model with the community at the heart of its decision-making,” says Tom Crook, Investment Manager at Resonance. “The team is inspiring and extremely innovative in the way it uses its experience and passion to tackle a number of issues ranging from nutritious food, mental wellbeing and social isolation.”
Plans for their future are big. From ordering the meals online and developing a chilled meal service, to researching its impact with Exeter University and adapting their business model to cafés and restaurants nationwide. Now that’s food for thought.
The Health & Wellbeing Challenge Fund is an impact investment fund created with investment from the Growth Fund and South West Academic Health Science Network (SWAHSN). The Growth Fund is managed by Access - The Foundation for Social Investment and is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and Big Society Capital. The Fund aims to make social impact investment more accessible and relevant to smaller social enterprises looking to expand their operations and impact in the South West linked to the broad theme of Health & Wellbeing.
Resonance Limited is a company registered in England and Wales no. 04418625
Resonance Impact Investment Limited, a subsidiary of Resonance Limited, is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Firm number 588462.
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