I am Moira Coughlin and I have been working at Tayberry café Dovetail Enterprise since the 1st August 2016. So yes, I have just had a work anniversary.
I took on this job knowing that Tayberry is a social enterprise that is committed to giving learning opportunities to the most marginalised people in our society. Our focus is people with health barriers to employment but we also have worked with people who have both health and criminal justice barriers.
The café offers training opportunities and our partner, Dundee City Council’s Supported Employment Unit provide job coaching, a job club moving our trainees into other work, further training or volunteering opportunities.
Whilst, this is all good, the café is still a business. We have just finished our three-year funding from Community Innovations Funding. We have further funds from Lloyds and Matthews Trust for this year but we need to move towards financial sustainability. I came into the job knowing this and that we had to develop external markets, which has been a challenge without a refrigerated van to meet environmental standards.
What Have I Done?
Well, on a small scale we have increased our business by having builders from the Peter Vardy garage come in from September 2016-June 2017. This is now finished but we are hoping to serve a new set of builders in September 2017. Winters and Simpson also come in weekly.
In the absence of a van, we bought four insulated boxes, which enabled us to comply with industrial food standards,
and enabled us to deliver lunches to Capability Scotland on a daily basis. We are also delivering lunches fortnightly to Dryburgh Sheltered Housing Complex.
As well as these deliveries we have explored other activities to increase trading, which includes the provision of meals for the freezer. Our ‘one meals’ are an alternative to, perhaps, ready meals or some of the other providers who deliver on a fortnightly or daily basis. We have one customer who buys 3kg batches of Chili, Bolognese or Curry, takes it home to feed her family, and then freezes the rest into family freezer portions. They have indicated that it is helpful for a work-life balance.
We have also make a number of tray bakes and baked cakes for special occasions. We also have supplied tray bakes as a goodie in the conference bag for DSEN’s annual conference.
One Year on and I can safely say I love my Job and get a real buzz out of coming in every day, teaching the trainees and seeing the outcome of their dishes.
I really enjoy developing people and seeing them grow. It is satisfying becoming a part of someone else’s journey.
Tayberry has also invested in me; I have been studying for my diploma in advanced food hygiene and have done four assignments, just waiting to do the final exam in September.
This will enable us to put all trainees through elementary food hygiene courses – another feather in their cap.