Thursday 5 September 2013

15 Cornwall

The RNLI station in front of the 15 restaurant.
Is a charity and social enterprise which has a specific aim; to train young people in Cornwall who haven't had the best start in life to become great chefs. Started by Jamie Oliver, who is still a big influence. Since 2006 it has grown and become a big part of Cornwall's third sector scene, as well as an acclaimed spot to eat well.

It targets its potential apprentices amongst the most deprived and troubled communities. So some third of their recruits are amongst juvenile offenders and some 25% are homeless.

The charity is now being run by old friend Matthew Thomson; an ACEVO member of long standing and he offered to host one of our SW chief executive regional forums. And where better to do this than at the 15 restaurant. It's a gorgeous spot - overlooking Watergate Bay just up from Newquay.

We had a good discussion of some of the challenges our sector faces. But also the big opportunities and potential for growth. Paul Brinsley who heads the Cornwall Hospices was pointing out how little the NHS provides towards their funding, but how much they save the service, let alone the quality of this service to those at the end of their lives. Yet he was optimistic about the scope for change and he said their charity shops are doing well.

And as we ate we could see the RNLI in action; providing lifeguard cover for the beach. Whilst down here I visited a couple of their RNLI shops; very professionally run and with high quality merchandise. I'm a huge fan of charity shops generally. Small business sometimes complains about their tax exemptions, but frankly it’s the charity shops that are keeping some of our High Streets alive.

Matthew has big ambitions for growth and expansion. So he should.

1 comment:

Peter Gold said...

I was at Watergate Bay only last week; and saw you on TV a few weeks before!

Long time no speak..... trust all is well.

Peter Gold