£4,500 raised for Lunch on the Run.
A Dudley-based social enterprise is helping to give even more people with learning disabilities access to expert training, skills and the chance of employment thanks to the support of a leading West Midlands recruitment advertising specialist.
Candidate Source, which helps to place thousands of candidates every year, has raised over £4,500 as part of its commitment to support Lunch on the Run. This has involved a number of fundraising activities, including a ‘sell-out’ Elvis Tribute night, cake mornings and helping LOTR secure new contracts to provide catering services to corporate clients.
It has also agreed to cover the costs of an additional training place, with local man Steven Beckley currently gaining new skills in his bid to secure a job for the first time in 15 years. Candidate source has covered his salary for twelve months in paid work at Lunch on the Run, in order to boost his CV with the hope of gaining future employment.
“When we agreed to support Lunch on the Run we set ourselves the target of generating about £2500,” explained Michelle Davies, Managing Director of Candidate Source.
“However, when we got to know the social enterprise a little better and saw firsthand the excellent work it does, we knew we needed to up our game even further and am delighted we have nearly doubled that original figure – with more money on the way. This has paid for Steven’s employment at LOTR and the installation of a commercial refrigerator that will help it store more food and complete contracts with additional corporate clients. The idea is to give it the equipment it needs and the confidence to grow revenue through its coffee shop in Dudley and its outside catering work.”
Steven Beckley was delighted with the opportunity: “I really enjoy my work here as it gives me the confidence I need to learn new things and develop. I also love being part of the team, it means everything to me.”
Lunch on the Run currently supports 17 people, providing them with training, life skills and important work experience in their catering business or coffee shop.
The latter has enjoyed a whirlwind first year after it opened its doors in Dudley and now provides shoppers, workers and tourists with a range of cold/hot drinks and great tasting cakes and snacks, including sandwiches, soups, salads and jacket potatoes.
“Like many other organisations in our sector, we have had to endure funding cuts so have tried to become more commercial in the way that we operate…basically generating our own revenue,” explained Sally Bassett, Manager of Lunch on the Run.
“This has been fairly successful with a number of catering projects completed for local businesses and schools, whilst taking on the coffee shop has given us the chance to increase sales whilst giving our trainees fantastic training and work experience.”
She added: “We were delighted when Candidate Source appointed us as its Charity of the Year, but none of us expected the level of support we would receive from Michelle and her team. They’ve really got involved in what we do, getting to know our trainees and exploring different ways in which they can help.
“One example is how they put us in touch with Wesleyan, who are currently helping us to get our kitchen garden project started. We want to grow our own produce and provide more sustainable catering.”
Candidate Source, which provides job board support to recruitment firms across the UK, has seen annual sales smash the £3.1 million barrier for the first time in seven years – a 15% increase on the previous 12 months.
On the back of this growth, the company has had to relocate to larger offices, taking 1000 sq ft of office space at Chantry House in Coleshill, providing it with more desk space and a new dedicated meeting area.