Oldham Food Security Challenge Prize

The Food Security Challenge Prize in Oldham offered start-up and scale-up grants and mentoring for new or scaling food enterprises that are developing the most effective responses to local food insecurity and focus on long-term change, social impact, and increasing employment in the local food sector. £50,000 was awarded across six grants in two categories, decided by public vote at a live participatory funding event in February 2023. The most votes took home the biggest grant in each category.

The Food Security Challenge Prize complemented our three-month training programme CommunityFed Oldham which offered workshops, webinars, study visits, and specialist support, ranging from developing community-led food enterprises to alternative business models, and from community partnerships to building new markets for local food initiatives. Many prize recipients engaged with the programme before putting themselves forward for the prize.

Start-up Award

  • Unincorporated organisations or active for 18 months or less
  • £5,000
  • £2,500

Scale-up Award

  • Incorporated business that has been trading for 18 months or more
  • £15,000
  • £12,000
  • £10,000
  • £7,500

Prize Recipients 2023

What is a Challenge Prize?

Such is the scale of our current national food crisis, that data on food poverty is often obsolete by the time it is published. As a growing cost of living crisis bites further into budgets, demand on emergency provision like food banks can only rise. Stretched already by declining donations and a volunteer shortage, the last resort for far too many is on the edge of breaking point. This systemic failure will not be easily solved, but there is a glimmer of possibility amidst the challenges.

What if inspiring food enterprises could be supported with the resources to test new alternatives in the local food system?

How might communities make a start on building a food system that better serves local people?

We invited Oldham residents to apply for the Challenge Prize to access funding for a new enterprise or service that reduces food poverty in the borough as part of efforts to transition from food aid to food security.

How can you improve Oldham’s food system?

Recognising the importance of food as an economic, public health, and cultural issue, we were looking for great local food initiatives that benefit people living and working in Oldham, such as:

Food co-operatives

Community growing spaces

Community cafes

Community food kitchens

This prize complimented our CommunityFed: Oldham series of free events: workshops, webinars and study visits. We strongly encouraged prospective Food Security Challenge Prize applicants to attend these events - which link to a local food enterprise or service they would like to develop. In the end, we found that groups that attended this programme benefited from receiving higher award prizes in the Food Security Challenge Prize.

Contact: nicola.scott@stirtoaction.com or 07515116730 (Mon-Tues, Fri)

How did it work?

Stage One

  • – Applicants downloaded the Prize info pack
  • – They read the challenge statement & eligibility criteria
  • – Organisations applied before 29 November 2022
  • – After a lengthy judging panel process, six successful applicants were notified in December 2022

Stage Two

  • – Shortlisted applicants joined a pitch training workshop in January
  • – They developed a six-minute pitch about their idea
  • – Candidates pitched at a participatory funding event on 2 February 2023
  • – Then they were offered an award, as decided by the crowd at the event
  • – Applicants were connected to local mentors and other support

Who was it for?

Community groups with a new enterprise idea

Established organisations that are developing new services

Local partners building new infrastructure for the food system

Get in touch

Download pack

Applications Closed

Without support we didn't know how we were going to do the thing. Now with this help and support we can do it.
Name, Organisation
Without support we didn't know how we were going to do the thing. Now with this help and support we can do it.
Amanda Richardson, Oldham Council or Sarah
Without support we didn't know how we were going to do the thing. Now with this help and support we can do it.
Anwar, UpTurn
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