Through the power of food, our mission is to empower communities in Norwich, ensuring each and every person has the support to eat well, live well, and feel connected.
About us in 90 seconds
A Brief History
Our roots are in an organisation called Leap which started in 2008. It was established by Barry Allard when Norwich City Council was awarded funding from central government under the Enhanced Housing Options Trailblazer initiative. The funding award was given to look innovatively at ways of reducing homelessness by addressing multiple needs – investing effort into attitudinal change, developing resilience and adjusting behaviour for the long term.
We incorporated employment, education and training with accommodation opportunities. After two years of achieving strong results we were awarded Reaching Communities Big Lottery Funding for three years. This enabled us to expand the team and Leap became part of St Martin’s Housing Trust, which has over 40 years’ experience of working with the most marginalised groups.
The Feed is formed
In February 2014, to secure its future, Leap registered a Community Interest Company which traded as The Feed. This was the part of the organisation aimed at selling food to generate revenue.
The first public retail outlet for The Feed was a stall on Norwich Market which opened in 2017 following a successful crowdfunding with significant support from Kettle Foods, businesses and individuals.
A move to Prince of Wales Road
In November 2018 the time had come to bring together all the activity of The Feed under one roof. Our premises on Prince of Wales Road gave us an indoor café, a full kitchen to provide our supported work experience programme, office space, a meeting area and storage. It also brought the potential to start a catering business which happened soon after.
Growth in 2021 and 2022
Despite the challenges of the covid pandemic, we found ways to grow and opened four new cafés in nine months. In summer 2022 we opened a Social Supermarket.
May 2021 - we took over the running of the staff bistro at Kettle Foods' factory in Bowthorpe.
November 2021 - Norwich City Council chose us to operate the café in the pavilion at Wateloo Park in Norwich.
December 2021 - our next café to open was for staff and students at Norwich University of the Arts.
February 2022 - the beautiful Churchman House on Bethel Street is the location for our fifth café. Norfolk and Waveney Mind took over the building and asked us to run the café which is open to the public.
July 2022 - we opened our Social Supermarket on Hall Road to provide food to people struggling to afford it.
November 2022 - our Community Café and Kitchen opened in the adjacent space to the Social Supermarket.
2023 brought a new support programme, vision and mission
In early 2023 we reflected on the huge growth in use of our Social Supermarket which was already supporting 2,000 households with affordable food just eight months after launch. This is a bigger scale than anything else The Feed has done.
We also gathered the views of users of the supermarket, others in our community, our staff and trustees to inform our new three-year strategy. At the heart of this was ensuring we were reflecting what our communities needed whilst being financially stable.
This led us to make some important decisions:
we commenced the development of a new programme of support for supermarket members. To facilitate this we aligned our opportunities coaches to this. In turn, this meant ceasing our supported work experience programme in its previous form.
giving our catering team, based at Prince of Wales Road, more space to capitalise on their potential to further grow our revenue and help us to be more financially resilient. This meant we closed the café there which was not as profitable.
we refined our Vision, which was previously 'communities free from poverty', and introduced our new one 'communities where everyone thrives'. This focuses on the strengths of a community and our aim to facilitate positive and lasting change.
You can read more details about this here.