To celebrate the 550 UK projects receiving funding from this year’s Aviva Community Fund, Norwich City players Kenny McLean and Louis Thompson swapped the football training ground for a Norwich café that trains individuals who face a barrier to employment, The Feed on Prince of Wales Road.
The Feed is a community café and training centre that helps people who have experienced homelessness, access training and employment opportunities. All profits from its social enterprise go towards assisting its trainees to help regain their confidence, through learning skills to work in the catering and hospitality industry.
During the visit, the players and Aviva employee Danny Nobbs joined a session where attendees were taught barista and customer service skills – even learning the ropes themselves.
The Aviva funding provides crucial support for local causes and projects that aim to boost the strength of communities in their areas. Now in its fourth year, the Aviva Community Fund saw 3,300 projects submitted with a hope of funding between £1,000 and £25,000. Project submitters called upon local supporters to champion projects, and an incredible four million votes were placed this year.
The Feed will use the Aviva funding to purchase vital equipment for their training kitchen, which will enable them to double the number of individuals they can train and in turn increase employability for local residents.
In addition to funding projects, Aviva has evolved its programme to provide ongoing support for all groups, not just those that secure funding.
Kenny McLean said: "I really enjoyed visiting The Feed and seeing the inspiring work they do to train the people that attend. The dedication of the coaching staff was clear from the skills these trainees showed.
“It’s great to hear from the group directly about the positive impact that the Aviva Community Fund will have on these people.”
Louis Thompson added: “We really enjoyed helping out for an afternoon at The Feed. It was great to see the hard work that goes on all year round from the coaching staff, meaning they can help others improve their employability. They’ve told us that the Aviva Community Fund money will enable to them to do even more work, and that can only be positive for the people in the area.”
Lucy Webb, Fundraiser at The Feed said: “It was amazing to have Kenny and Louis join one of our training sessions. The players were naturals and we want them to know that if football doesn’t keep them too busy, there is always space for them on our barista team.
“The support of initiatives like the Aviva Community Fund is so vital to organisations like ours. With this funding we can continue to grow and build a stronger community.”
Tom Daniell, UK Retail and Brand Director at Aviva, said: “Each year, we are lucky enough to read through 1000s of entries that show us the great work community groups across the country are doing. The Feed is an example of hundreds from Norwich and East Anglia that came forward, many of which were successful in receiving funding.
“This year, Aviva is going beyond just providing funding; we are offering these groups our skills, knowledge and connections to help build stronger communities together, and are proud to support the groups who work so hard to make a difference in their local area.”
To sign up to show your support by volunteering for deserving causes in the area, click here.
To see which projects have received funding in your area, click here.