A healthy appetite for scale

In 2017 Alexandra Rose’s pioneering food voucher programme was reaching hundreds in poverty, today it has scaled to reach thousands, through a bold strategy to stimulate local food economies.

Spring Impact's Scale Accelerator helped Alexandra Rose gain the headspace to get clearer on its ultimate goals, something which eventually helped to change its strategic direction and the unique model at its heart.

MISSION

Britain is facing a food poverty crisis. Healthy food is now three times more expensive than unhealthy food. In areas across the country where inequality is most entrenched, families do not have the spending power to make healthy choices for themselves and their families.

This has a knock-on effect on the lives of children. In England almost one in three primary-aged children are either overweight or obese, whilst many teachers report seeing schoolchildren struggling to concentrate in lessons because they are hungry.

Alexandra Rose Charity is driven by a simple and powerful belief – everyone should have access to healthy and affordable food.

Photo credit: Alexandra Rose Charity

Photo credit: Alexandra Rose Charity

Challenge

The charity joined Spring Impact’s Scale Accelerator in 2017 with the support of The National Lottery Community Fund, at a crucial point in its journey. It had just launched a pioneering intervention and was two years into a bold shift to redefine itself, despite a century-long heritage.

Whilst at an early stage its ‘Rose Vouchers for Fruit & Veg Project – providing low income families with vouchers that could be exchanged for fresh fruit and vegetables in local markets – was growing fast in four London boroughs and new pilots were starting up in England’s North West. Over 250 families had received Rose Vouchers, benefitting 450 children.

However, as a small organisation tackling the widening issue of food poverty, it needed support to identify the most effective and sustainable way to do this.

“We needed to sit back and look at our nascent formula and where we could we take it next, and help to think through the model that would best help us to grow.”

— -Jonathan Pauling, CEO, Alexandra Rose Charity

Action

Scale Accelerator helped to transform how Alexandra Rose Charity approached scaling its innovation, turning its impressive ambition into a clear plan of action. For the charity this meant starting to think about scale differently, by taking a step back from growth at a surface level.

“While the scale of the food poverty across the UK is huge and we were keen to tackle it in all areas, we realised we needed to make a deeper impact first, before replicating”, said Jonathan.

Alongside this, it has continued to invest in new technology systems – such as an app to quickly reimburse local market traders for the fruit and veg they sold to Rose Voucher families.

Photo credit: Alexandra Rose Charity

Photo credit: Alexandra Rose Charity

Impact

While Alexandra Rose was undoubtedly on a strong growth trajectory before it joined Scale Accelerator, the model it took onboard has directly influenced its success in scaling its impact.

The charity is actively changing the lives of families through improving access to healthier food, reaching over 1000 families through its work with 26 Children’s Centres in four London boroughs (Hackney, Hammersmith & Fulham, Lambeth and Southwark), as well as in areas of Liverpool and Barnsley.

Alexandra Rose Charity recently successfully secured a new three-year grant for £1.25m from Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity to expand its Southwark pilot scheme over the next three years, and it is hoping to scale into more territories in the future.

Photo credit: Alexandra Rose Charity

Photo credit: Alexandra Rose Charity

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