Awards For All - Project Update 21 March 2022


Awards For All



Community Payback and Food Security during lockdown

Community Payback (CP) is a court sentence requiring adult offenders to undertake up to 300 hours unpaid community work. During lockdown CP workers across Greater Manchester worked on allotments and community growing projects and in surplus food distribution centres like Fareshare and in pantries like Your Local Pantry , growing food and packing and delivering food parcels for families in food poverty. Many CP workers are in food poverty themselves and continue to ‘do their hours’ in the same way post-covid lockdown.

Dwindling Surplus Food supplies and Pantries

Increasing demand for surplus food, together with supermarket increased efficiencies and labour shortages are all reducing the supplies of surplus food available. Many pantries are now seeking new sources of income to bulk-buy non-surplus food to supplement what surplus food is still available as well as looking for new supplies of locally grown food without having to put up Pantry membership fees to pay for it, which would negatively impact their mission to help families out of food poverty.

Payback Pathways to Employment and Food Security

Our proposal is to road test two possible solutions to these problems and then roll them out nationally once proof of concept has been successfully achieved. Both use CP workers to raise funds for pantries to bulk-buy non-surplus food supplies and access locally grown food, while providing a pathway into paid employment for CP workers themselves, lifting them and pantry members out of food poverty.

Model One

CP workers start their sentence working on allotments and community growing projects or as Pantry volunteers and move on to complete their hours as a work trial with supermarkets and other food services companies once they’ve ‘proved themselves’ in the initial placement. The host company guarantees them at least an interview for paid employment once they’ve successfully completed their CP work trial. The host company then makes a charitable donation back to the Pantry or community growing project equivalent to the monetary value of the CP worker’s unpaid work trial. This fulfils the CP community benefit requirements and the Corporate Social Responsibility commitments of the company concerned and it enables the Pantry to bulk-buy non-surplus food to supplement the dwindling surplus food supplies as well as sourcing more locally grown food without having to increase pantry membership fees.

Model One – Progress to Date

Stockport Homes have agreed to pilot this model at their Bridge Hall Pantry site with CP placements in the Pantry and working on a community allotment with Panty members and other volunteers which the Bridge Hall Pantry is in the process of developing.

The Co-operative Group and Compass Group PLC Food Services have agreed in principle to provide CP work trial placements in their Stockport sites for CP workers progressing from the Bridge Hall Pantry and the community allotment as outlined above in Model One.

However, Probation have identified a potential issue with CP placements with commercial for-profit organisations like the Co-op and Compass and together with Nornir they are seeking clarification from CP nationally at HMPPS.

The Stockport Youth Offending Team however do not see this as a problem for young offenders who are subject to an Unpaid Work requirement of a Youth Rehabilitation Order. They are keen to explore how this element of the model could be piloted in conjunction with the Bridge Hall Pantry, the Co-op and Compass.

The Unpaid Work requirement of a Youth Rehabilitation Order is the young offender equivalent of adult Community Payback. It requires 16 and 17 year old young offenders to undertake unpaid work of benefit to the community for between 40 and 240 hours depending of the severity of the offence. It has the same aims as Community Payback and offers the same sort of placements, but it is run by local authority Youth Offending Teams rather than the Probation Service.

Model Two

This works in a similar way to Model One. CP workers start their sentence on allotments and community growing projects and in Pantries and then move on to complete it with an intermediary social enterprise which buys up surplus food produced by the allotments and community growing projects and prepares and processes it ready for onward sale at discount rates to supermarkets and other food services companies. In return for the discount rates these companies sign a form of ‘Local Labour Agreement’ committing them to recruit new paid staff from those successfully completing their CP work with the intermediary social enterprise. The social enterprise then makes charitable donations back to the growers and pantries out of the proceeds from the onward sales and equivalent to the monetary value of the CP workers’ work in the social enterprise.

Model Two – Progress to Date

Discussions are ongoing with Foundations Stockport SP Square CiC  and Pure Innovations about the development, ownership, management and operation of the intermediary social enterprise that is integral to Model Two as outlined above. The same issues around Probation and Youth Justice apply here as well to Model Two in exactly the same way as with Model one.

Three social enterprise business opportunities have been identified, with discussions ongoing around whether they should be developed as three separate social enterprises or one single legal entity trading in the three sectors identified as the intermediary social enterprise for Model Two.

The first social enterprise to be developed in any event is likely to be a small scale demonstration organic liquid fertiliser production facility based on the community allotments identified and developed in Model One. This will supply local garden centres and online sales. A ‘Local Labour Agreement’ will be trialled with the Garden Centres, the Co-op and Compass to enable CP workers working on the allotments and fertilizer production to move on to paid employment with those employers on successful completion of their CP hours.

The second social enterprise will be a commercial Urban Mushroom Farm, replicating and  developed in partnership with the Newcastle YMCA Urban Mushroom initiative Like the allotments and fertilizer production facility, this will be staffed by people on Community Payback and young offenders subject to an Unpaid Work Requirement, under the supervision of a Community Payback or Youth Rehabilitation Supervisor. All profits will be gift-aided to Stockport Pantries to provide additional funds to bulk-buy wholesale non-surplus food supplies to supplement dwindling  surplus food supplies. This will form the ‘community benefit’ element required by the Community Payback and Unpaid Work placements in the social enterprise.

The third social enterprise will operate along the same lines, juicing and bottling the allotment produce to make speciality juices, smoothies, soups, chutneys, preserves and relishes and supplying ‘hyper-local’ markets - local  health food shops, independent grocers, ‘Liquid Lunch’ Delivery Services/Meals on Wheels etc. as well as local branches of national chains at discount prices. In return for this favourable pricing these customers will sign the ‘Local Labour Agreement’ whereby they undertake to recruit new paid staff and apprentices from the pool of people successfully completing their payback with the allotments and social enterprises. All profits will again be gift-aided to Stockport Pantries to provide additional funds to bulk-buy wholesale non-surplus food supplies to supplement dwindling  surplus food supplies.

It is anticipated this third social enterprise  will be facilitated by an application to the Co-operative Group’s ‘Apiary Incubator Programme’ and/or other specialist third sector consultants in this sector eg  Small Scale Bottling and SP Square CiC

It is also anticipated that Model One and the fertilizer plant in Model Two will be established  as the main activity of the Awards for All funding. Further funding applications will be required to develop the Mushroom Farm and Juicing and Bottling Plant elements of Model Two.