Future sustainability for The Food Chain: supporting people with HIV

Project Type: Commissioning
Region: London & South East
The cookery school run by The Food Chain now targets corporate clients following strategic advice from Cranfield Trust volunteer Maria Toneva.

People living with HIV often struggle to maintain the healthy diet they need, due to ill health, poverty, isolation and a lack of motivation to eat well, or because of limited skills and knowledge. The Food Chain delivers meals and groceries and offers cookery and nutrition classes to people living with HIV and their dependents in London. By offering a tailored package of support, the charity helps people to lead healthy, independent lives.

Ben is living with HIV.  He explains: “The Food Chain services completely changed me. Before, I was thin and very weak. Now I am strong and can walk on my own again. I feel I can do anything! “

The Food Chain contacted The Cranfield Trust as it was keen to become a more self-sustaining charity, depending less on donations, a volatile source of funding.  Cranfield Trust volunteer consultant Maria Toneva, a Harvard alumna with over 10 years’ experience analysing successful companies in food and retail, had the perfect skills to support The Food Chain in using its assets to generate income.

Picture of young man supported by The Food Chain

Maria says “This was a great opportunity for me to step back from my everyday life, lend a hand to people that are less fortunate and contribute in a meaningful way. Furthermore, it fitted in well with my experience in the financial sector as a food and retail analyst. 

"I presented various strategies, supported by financial projections, to generate income from the charity’s newly acquired kitchen.  The senior management team, trustees and I discussed them in detail and decided to go with a cooking school targeting corporate clients for team building.

"I really enjoyed working with The Food Chain’s enthusiastic team, their passion for the work they do was contagious.  I learned a lot about people, about cooperation, about compassion and about myself. ”

And thanks to the support of The Cranfield Trust, The Food Chain is now able to foresee a more sustainable future, ensuring that its work with people like Ben can continue and grow as part of its expansion strategy.  

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