Devon and Cornwall Food Action (DCFA) thrive with help from students on Inspiring Futures consultancy projects

Devon & Cornwall Food Association (DCFA) has worked with Inspiring Futures students over the last couple of years. One of the projects was to help find funding for DCFA’s ongoing charity work in the city. The project was being run in real time, with real outcomes.

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Launched in 2010, DCFA is a small, local charity that collects and then redistributes surplus food supplies to local charities and organisations that, in turn, support vulnerable community members. By mid-2016 they had ‘recycled’ over 220 tonnes of food in this way, with a retail value of over £750,000. They work with sixty-seven suppliers – including the big supermarkets – and over ninety organisations that, by using these food supplies, can spend their own vital funds on other priorities including: reducing isolation or providing rehabilitation facilities, counselling, mentoring, housing, food or advice.

A finalist in the 2016 National Lottery Awards, who consider them as one of the seven best voluntary projects in the UK, DCFA works through three key food hubs in Plymouth, Exeter and in Cornwall, and is run almost entirely by volunteers.

Although not an expensive charity to run, DCFA still needs to cover their rent, utilities, transfer of food supplies, admin and development, so funding is an ongoing challenge. This is where DCFA felt the support of the student projects would be really helpful and were already using their findings successfully by the time they were half way through their project.

They were able to provide an independent and objective assessment of DCFA’s needs, to search for solutions that could be used effectively and to add to their own grant funding skills.

Jackie Young, Executive Administrator, DCFA said:

“The student’s contribution was twofold. Firstly, they provided additional eyes and ears, finding and recommending potential funding sources that could be followed up. They were able to pick up on a number of sources we had not previously found and give time to the research so that criteria could be assessed and applied appropriately. As a result of their support, DCFA has been able to:

  • Make over 20 separate applications, using their recommendations to guide suitability;
  • Apply for over £150,000 of possible funding (outcomes pending at the time of writing);
  • Secure over £25,000 of funding to date;
  • Maintain the services of DCFA for at least a further six months;
  • Maintain our service to 93 local charities (over 3000 individuals).”

You can find out more about Devon & Cornwall Food Association (DCFA) at www.devonandcornwallfoodassociation.org

For more information about Inspiring Futures, to discuss an idea for a project or for details about how to make an application, email: inspiringfutures@plymouth.ac.uk

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