Barry is a fellow of our Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Start Up Programme. He founded The Feed back in 2014 with the support of SSE, but left the organisation in 2017 to the capable hands of another SSE fellow, Matt Townsend.
What does your social enterprise do?
The Feed offers coaching and employment opportunities in catering to people who have been homeless. We support them towards employment by providing training and work experience. When you eat with us you get more than just good food, you empower homeless people to live a fulfilling life of their choice through coaching and catering.
When Barry founded The Feed in 2014 with the support of SSE, it was a volunteer-driven project alongside an organisation he also ran called LEAP Norwich which provided coaching and support.
LEAP came to an end and Barry left The Feed in 2017, handing the reigns over to another SSE fellow, Matt Townsend. The Feed continued to grow and now has a café in Norwich city centre, with a dedicated training facility and employs seven staff and trains and supports around 8 people ever single month with many entering employment or volunteering as a result.
Barry, what motivated you to start your social enterprise?
After taking some time to go travelling, I returned to my hometown of Norwich more open-hearted and determined to make change. I gained employment within the homeless sector. But I became frustrated at the lack of provision for single homeless people and felt that I could develop a business that could maximise opportunities and make more lasting change.
Why are you passionate about this cause?
One in ten people in the UK are homeless in their lifetime; there has been a 13% increase over the last year. This should not be the case in an affluent western society. Homelessness is not just a lack of bricks and mortar. It is often a symptom of underlying social problems, including family breakdown, poor mental and physical health, drug abuse, low skills, unemployment and poverty.
How has the School for Social Entrepreneurs supported you?
SSE is an organisation that encourages active and practical learning, which I strongly believe is the correct way to develop people’s ideas into reality. I particularly enjoyed the Action Learning Sets which helped me get to the root cause of my issues and build deeper understanding of myself and my enterprise.
Being on the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme has provided me with a great space to meet, share and network with like-minded individuals who are passionate and motivated and connected to the issue which they want to tackle.
My peers on the course have become friends and networks and I am sure we will continue to grow our ideas!
If you’ve been inspired by Barry’s story take a look at our courses and see how we can help make your idea a reality.