New GMCA funding work in Greater Manchester


GM Foundational Innovation Fund

Our Phase 1 project demonstrated that, not only is Probation a key service of the Foundational Economy and also that people on probation can be key workers themselves.  This is achieved by increasing the innovation capacity and sustainability of organisations working in and with the Foundational Economy, specifically those in the ‘Austerity Food Retail’ sector.

‘Austerity Food Retail’(AFR) refers to local pantries, social supermarkets and other forms of cooperative and community shops offering highly discounted products to people in food poverty. They usually make use of donated and surplus/rejected foods which would otherwise be thrown away.

Our Phase 1 project in 2023/4 successfully provided Stockport Homes’ austerity retailer ‘Your Local Pantry’  with proof of this concept. It created a means of retailing more locally produced non-surplus healthy food to its members to supplement the dwindling supplies of often poor-quality surplus and donated food available to them, without having to raise their weekly membership fees to pay for it.  Phase 1 did this by working with people on probation who are subject to an Unpaid Work requirement of a Community Order (‘Community Payback’) to:

•      grow fresh seasonal fruit, vegetables, and salads on unused/under-used public land in Stockport for onward donation to the Pantries.

•      assess the feasibility of manufacturing value-added food products from the produce grown for onward donation to the Pantries.

Our new Phase 2 project (April 2024 to June 2025) builds directly on Phase 1 aims and deliverables by

  • Our model/business plan, of using CP to grow fresh produce for donation to the pantries to generate new income streams from commercial production will continue and develop. This will enable them to continue to bulk-buy their own supplies of locally produced non-surplus healthy food.
  • Rolling out the Model of at a further 3 sites in Stockport, Manchester and Trafford, thus supplying AFR in Greater Manchester with locally produced healthy non-surplus fresh food free of charge.
  • Enhancing the model with the commercial production of mushrooms. Facilitating the manufacture of value-added food products from the produce grown in the form of:
  1. Frozen healthy ready meal production at each hub, also for onward donation to AFR.
  2. Using mushrooms as a meat substitute from freshly grown mushrooms at each hub for use in the ready meals.
  • developing training and progression routes into employment in the food and retail sectors of the Foundational Economy for people successfully completing their Community Payback on the project - helping plug the ‘skills gap’ in the food and retail sectors of the Foundational Economy.