Someone's got to do it
Friday 6 November 2015
The phrase 'Well, someone’s got to do it' is frequently heard, quite often on TV documentaries by people who have challenging jobs, such as maintaining London’s sewers.
Having joined Brandon Trust back in January as Enterprise Development Manager, I've had the arduous and challenging job of trying the produce of many of our fabulous social enterprises. This has become more difficult recently as Brandon just opened a new café at Saint Stephen’s Church in the centre of Bristol, and the team at Elm Tree Farm have just produced their first batch of chutney, using fruit and vegetables grown on site.
Saint Stephen’s Church had a popular café for a number of years, which unfortunately closed last year. The church was looking for a partner organisation to reopen the café and help realise their vision of becoming a community hub which gathers those connected to the creative arts and the business and civic communities of the city. Brandon was chosen from a number of potential partners who bid for the opportunity.
Situated at the bottom of bustling Corn Street, and close to Elm Tree Farm’s weekly stall at the popular St Nicholas Farmer’s Market, Saint Stephen’s Church is an ideal place to open a café. The church garden offers peace and tranquillity, yet it's only yards from the lively and vibrant city centre. The church itself is an interesting building to look round. It also plays host to live concerts every Monday lunchtime. Plans are in place to employ people with learning disabilities in the café, once we have everything up and running.
As someone with both a commercial and academic background in marketing, I've been indoctrinated with the concepts around market research and test marketing. To make sure this experience wasn't wasted, I felt it important to test market some of the products made by the new team at Saint Stephen’s. So, in the spirit of trying what our customers will be buying, I've sampled, well a fairer assessment would be eaten, quite large portions of some of the lovely cakes, sandwiches and hot food. Particularly memorable was the homemade apple pie with cream; so good I had to sample it again the next time I went, this time with an added hint of toffee. The coconut, basil and lime cake was also delicious, and the brie and cranberry sandwich came with a huge dollop of coleslaw. I love coleslaw!
My next market research project was testing the lovely, sweet-tasting chutney made by the market garden team at Elm Tree Farm, using the newly refurbished kitchen which was funded by Bristol’s Green Capital programme. This will be the first in a new line of chutneys, jams and preserves to be produced and sold at the Wednesday Farmer’s Market on Corn Street, and also in the new farm shop opening on 26 November, on site at Elm Tree Farm in Stapleton, Bristol, so lots more market research to look forward to!
To make my role even harder we'll be opening yet another café at the Vassall Centre in Fishponds in the next few weeks. Again, I'll have the arduous task of testing the menu that the team will be developing.
Well, someone’s got to do it!
Enterprise Development Manager