Business in the Community entrant – Affordable Food Stoke
As the name suggests, Affordable Food Stoke works to reduce food poverty and food waste. What many people don’t realise is that the registered charity supports the communities within which it is based in numerous other ways too.
Founders Duane and Nikki Barrett have a community lounge at their Blurton base which is open four days each week for anyone who needs a warm, safe space. There is free tea, coffee, toast, cereal and a friendly welcome.
The lounge is staffed by volunteers trained to look out for new people, people sitting on their own and anyone who seems particularly in need of a friendly face and a chat.
The community lounge has a knit and natter group, runs school holiday activities and has a ‘locality connector’ to help ensure the people who use the facility are supported in as many ways as possible.
Staffordshire University alumni Duane Barrett, who founded Affordable Food Stoke with his wife Nikki, said: “2023 was a breakthrough year for Affordable Food Stoke. After forming in 2017 and becoming a registered charity mid-way through 2021, 2023 was the year we were able take our next steps in developing the charity.
“2023 was also the year we were able to secure National Lottery Reaching Communities funding, securing us three years of funding.
“This enabled me to personally leave my job of 10 years and come over to Affordable Food Stoke full-time to support the work my wife and co-founder was already doing. Although a big risk both personally and professionally it was a risk worth taking to establish Affordable Food Stoke as a genuine Stoke-on-Trent institution.”
Nikki and Duane offer free food five days a week and put together emergency food parcels from their independent food bank which takes referrals from other food banks, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and professional bodies. They also have a social supermarket where members pay a small fee in return for food items worth considerably more.
Affordable Food Stoke has entered the Business in the Community category of the Staffordshire University Business Awards.