We are delighted to welcome social enterprise Chocolate & Co to our offices on Rougier Street. Chocolate & Co are a charitable offshoot of excellent local artisan chocolate makers, Choc Affair.
Joe caught up with founder Linda Barrie:
If you are struggling with addiction, or a history of offending and you want to try things differently, this may be just the thing. We believe that having purposeful work and feeling that you’re part of something with meaning and belonging, things can change and there is the real chance of creating a positive and brighter future.
We love chocolate and we know that loads of other people love chocolate too – so we have created a new brand of hot chocolate and we’re working together as a small team to build this brand, flaking the chocolate blocks, packing the flakes into the pouches, labelling and sending them out in the post to our online customers. You’ll be tasting, trying, experimenting with different chocolates, perfecting recipes and building our product range around those recipes.
This is an amazing employment opportunity to learn about what is involved in running a business including the marketing, the finances, the operations, everything needed to sell a product online. We’re creating a physical store, building a community of supporters who’ll come to buy a takeout hot chocolate from us and maybe even a piece of cake. We’re doing deliveries locally, creating new recipes, learning how to create the perfect hot chocolate, writing blogs, making videos of our recipes and behind the scenes. In the summer we’ll be doing it all over again with an ice cold alternative to our hot chocolate – our frozen hot chocolate!
As we’re working side by side in our small team, we’ll be talking about life challenges, exploring practical ways of how it can get better, how you can get stronger, challenging old ideas and patterns of behaviours whilst considering fresh possibilities and new ways of doing things.
Working through finances, we’ll be teaching budgeting and the art of balancing the books, how to present yourself in the way you should when showing up for work or attending a job interview – making telephone calls for necessary appointments, as well as learning the art of being a barista, and enjoying a good coffee or hot chocolate. Through managing our online store you’ll be learning computer skills, gaining certificates along the way.
We aren’t all about the practical stuff though – we understand life can be lonely and that we all need coping strategies for those particularly difficult times, so we’ll be trying out new hobbies, heading to the gym, trying yoga, or even the climbing wall if you think that’s your thing – looking at ways to keep you busy on an evening or a weekend. It isn’t just about us simply working together in the chocolate shop, although that is a huge part of it – rather we’re counting on the fact that life is complex and hard in many ways, that we need to be looking at how we can help you have your needs met in a more rounded manner which better supports you. So counselling sessions, support with medical appointments, or other formal meetings is part of what we do, always open to trying new ways of doing things, because we know we are all unique and that one size doesn’t fit all. We can’t make life easy, but we can walk it out with you in a purposeful way, while you build a tool box to help you move forwards.
Social Vision’s Joe Gardham said:
At this start-up stage – whilst juggling your day job and new idea – a space to break out, focus and call your own can be the difference between success and failure, so we’re delighted to welcome Linda and her team. Their day job, Choc Affair, is a brilliant local company, with genuine social purpose at it’s core. So I’m really excited to see their new venture, Chocolate & Co, evolve and grow to support some of our city’s most marginalised residents.
Chocolate & Co join BrightSparks CIC at our small tribe of local social impact organisations, ahead of a move to a purpose built, permanent base later this year.
To connect with Chocolate & Co, email firstname.lastname@example.org