Case study

The Create Foundation

An organisation that combines catering and training to positively affect lives – and appetites.

Create is a catering company with a difference.

From its beginnings in a kitchen in a night shelter in Leeds in 2007, it is now a flourishing social business operating in four cities – Leeds, Doncaster, Sunderland and Manchester.

The company is divided into two main arms: which offers event management, contract and outside catering services, as well as running a city centre restaurant; and the Create Academy, which develops innovative training programmes and creates jobs for people who have been homeless, marginalised or vulnerable. All profit made from Create is reinvested back into the CIC.

Create was founded in 2007 through a meeting of minds and mission involving three people, Norman Pickavance, Gary Scott and Sarah Dunwell. The CIC legal structure was an obvious choice for a business with a clear social mission – but it was also important to have the flexibility to attract investment.

“Growth capital was always part of our business plan so we needed to make it as easy as possible for people to invest into the company. This is why we set Create up as a CIC limited by shares,” says Dunwell.

In fact, Create has recently secured its first investment, which has allowed it to open a flagship restaurant located in the heart of Leeds. “Every year the Create Academy trains more than 100 people who were formerly homeless or sleeping rough,” says Dunwell. “Create trainees will now get an opportunity to work in the restaurant benefiting from quality training, hands-on work experience and the chance to work alongside a multi-award winning executive chef, Richard Walton-Allen.”

Walton-Allen has been involved with Create since June 2011. His 20-year career in the food industry includes 12 years as executive chef at Harvey Nicholls.

With Walton-Allen now operating as Create’s ‘national executive chef’, the CIC’s aim is to open a restaurant in all four cities in which it operates. “Within the next three years we want to make Create a high street name,” says Dunwell.

“I think one of Create’s greatest achievements is being able to balance the ‘social’ and ‘enterprise’,” she adds. “Many organisations are good at one, but weaker at the other. Create is good at running businesses as well as having a high social impact on local communities.”

Name The Create Foundation
Location Based in Leeds
Company structure CIC limited by shares
Founded September 2007
Community interest statement CREATE is an independent ‘for-more-than-profit’ CIC providing innovative training and employment opportunities for people who have been homeless, marginalised or vulnerable.

Find out more about The Create Foundation

Published 12 November 2013