Founded by Fiona Donaldson, the social enterprise was born out of a passion for food, and a drive to make positive social change.
Having been a chef in restaurants, I saw the poor treatment of staff and inflated mark-up pricing which makes many cafes and restaurants inaccessible places to meet and socialise. I saw the true value of food and eating together, when I worked as a cook in a hostel in Edinburgh. I also saw the issues impacting on organisations with regards to their inability to utilise donated food surplus, lowering wastage and lowering costs.
Having witnessed the high cost, high-waste, nature of the food industry Fiona decided to take matters into her own hands. Having worked alongside those in need of support and identified a distinct lack of access to cooking facilities in temporary housing across Scotland, Fiona began her venture to reduce food poverty.
It is our belief that everyone, regardless of their housing situation should be able to sit down and enjoy a healthy meal with others.
When she came to Firstport Fiona was running accessible dining events, which provided healthy dinners at an affordable price. Using this experience as a starting-point, Fiona’s ambition and drive to have a more direct impact on the homeless community led her to seek support from Firstport. Together with our business advisors, Fiona was able to identify the best step forward for Prep Table.
Firstport provided business guidance and funding for Fiona, who was successful in securing our Start It and Build It awards to develop Prep Table as a social enterprise.
Firstport’s Business Support has been invaluable and was my entrance in to the world of social enterprise, I’m not sure where Prep Table would be without the moral support and encouragement I’ve received from the staff.
Prep Table now consists of a wide variety of social outreach, running pop-up events and group meals to provide a supportive environment that brings people together, raises people’s confidence, and builds relationships through food. Fiona also offers chef training to the homeless, to provide them with employable skills, and experience. Prep Table now works in partnership with NHS Lothian, to run a training café, to expand their social outreach, and are looking forward to an exciting 2019.
We are now able to employ some of the people who we have worked with within supportive organisations, have a sustainable business model, better utilise surplus food, distribute more food and invite community groups, individuals and charities to benefit from the space out of café operation hours.
Fiona’s story shows how an idea and passion can be turned into a sustainable, and growing, social enterprise. Feel inspired by Fiona’s story? Get in touch today to see how Firstport can support your social enterprise idea.