In 2014, after four years of invaluable support by the Soil Association for Food Plymouth’s partnership and network (which included a substantial part-time paid coordinator post), it was announced that the support package would be drawing to a close early the following year. Work then immediately began to create a replacement infrastructure body to consolidate and sustain Food Plymouth’s work as the city’s recognised local sustainable food partnership.
An exploration of the various options, supported by Plymouth Social Enterprise Network and Iridescent Ideas, led to Food Plymouth opting for a Social Enterprise model and a Community Interest Company (CIC) legal form. The rationale was that this would align neatly with Plymouth’s Social Enterprise City status and that the emphasis on earned income would reduce the unhealthy dependency on grant funding. Food Plymouth CIC was subsequently incorporated in October 2014. The new company went operational in March 2015 when the Soil Association support concluded.
Since that time, Food Plymouth CIC has consistently provided the infrastructure support for the partnership and network, including: Providing secretariat services and insurance cover; entering into delivery contracts on projects such as All Ways Apples Festival, Sugar Smart Plymouth and Plymouth’s Food Power work; managing the finances; statutory and project related reporting; convening and facilitating quarterly partnership and network meetings and various other events; representing the partnership and network at events, conferences and on various networks; communicating with partners, network members and stakeholders through the fortnightly e-bulletin and social media channels; and generating income streams from gifts, grants and trading to support all of the above.
Now turning four, Food Plymouth CIC is delighted to have survived the hazardous first few years which characterise every Micro Business and Small & Medium Size Enterprise (SME) start up. Our new collaborations with Plymouth Marjon University and King’s Cross Impact Hub, outlined above, are yet further indicators of the national standing and regional impact which we are achieving, underpinned by the quality and strength of the support which we are providing to the Food Plymouth partnership and network. We look to all of this and more in 2019 …