Borough Food Cooperative

The Borough Food Cooperative is a food hub based in the crypt of St George the Martyr Church in London. Initially set up in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the current cost of living crisis has meant the Cooperative is needed now more than ever. Their mission is simple, to fight food costs and food waste.

Fundraising support

We chatted with Emma Boronat, Coordinator, Borough Food Cooperative (BFC)

“I was fairly new in my role as coordinator and couldn’t really see the wood from the trees. My take on fundraising was that I would be immersed in bid writing and grant applications as opposed to the creative approaches that I gleaned from the Benefact Group fundraising forums.

My involvement with the Benefact Group has allowed me to develop my professional confidence in coordinating the BFC as a dynamic and progressive charity. Their forums have given me the opportunity to learn from and work with a diverse range of charities and fundraisers.

The forums offer us as an organisation a platform in which we can develop and grow creatively in a competitive market. Attending the forums together with the resulting support and idea sharing around corporate support and donations has allowed us to think bigger, to not just imagine all the things we’d like to achieve to meet the needs of our ever-growing membership, but to put them into action.

Off the back of the forum in December 2022, we applied for and secured funding to refurbish the Cooperative to give it a feeling of intention and purpose. In its previous guise it served the same purpose but looked like it was reacting in a crisis, which it initially was. The sponsored refurb gave us the opportunity to rebrand as well as to redecorate and buy new equipment. The results have been incredibly well received and appreciated by all our members.”

Borough Food Cooperative

“We also secured, through Third Eye Consulting, a pro bono project in which they built us a Salesforce volunteers management system to our specification and are providing us with post project support. This piece of work alone would have cost more than £400,000.

We have also engaged corporate partnerships with large companies that have digitised our membership data and a company that has funded the purchase of a zero-waste food unit and its contents for the next 6 months.

Furthermore, following the lively discussions around corporate volunteering at the last forum, we took the decision to monetize the opportunity. We now charge £100 per person per day for CSR days and rather than create “events” for these groups, we now offer them the same volunteer shifts as our existing team. In doing this we have received positive responses from corporate attendees and now have become a regular host space for a large city-based company who send their teams to us, which helps generate a significant amount for the BFC.

We have seen twice as many members using the service in the last seven months, yet with our newfound confidence we are not feeling overwhelmed. We have been empowered by our involvement with the Benefact Group and we have been able to operate in a more streamlined, professional way. The mentoring from the Benefact team is priceless in the charity sector, especially in the current climate.”