A workers' cooperative growing food on London's edge in the Lea Valley

Cafe opportunity

Are you
* passionate about fresh, healthy local food?
*able to cook delicious vegetarian and dairy-free food – or able to communicate with diverse people about good food and organise effectively?
*committed to community spaces and collective ways of working?
* interested in helping to create a viable enterprise that supports livelihoods?

Organiclea workers’ cooperative runs the Hornbeam Café (on the Walthamstow-Leyton border in northeast London) and we are looking for a team of people to take on running the café with us. This is a great opportunity to create additional livelihoods in our co-operative for people who are excited by good cooking and want to tap into the support and connections Organiclea can provide.

We’re looking for energetic committed people who can
– Work as a co-operative to run the café and catering enterprise, producing high quality vegetarian and dairy free food and ensuring there are customers to benefit from it
– Consolidate the existing café operation and develop the café and catering’s potential, particularly through increased volunteer roles, marketing, and events
– Take responsibility for the café’s overall business plan and financial sustainability
– Operate as a team, sharing tasks flexibly and learning from each other’s skillsets, whilst also taking lead individual responsibility for key roles and supporting each other to carry out work effectively
– Share their passion for food that’s grown and prepared with integrity!

The opportunity – resources on offer
1. Organiclea uses the Hornbeam Centre in Walthamstow, a volunteer-run community environmental centre, as a base for some of our distribution activity. The Hornbeam Café is housed in the centre, and uses our supply of locally grown and organic produce to make quality organic vegetarian and dairy-free food more widely available to the local community, promote healthy eating, and promote and support sustainable local food production. The Hornbeam Centre welcomes Organiclea’s input into the café and is able to offer a substantial rent-free period to allow the café to develop.

2. We want to support the cafe to increase the beneficial connections between the food we grow, the surplus from our box scheme and market stalls, and good cooking. To ensure this we can offer initial start up grant support and future loans from Organiclea, to help the cafe on its path to financial sustainability.

3. Thanks to three years of support from Sustain’s Making Local Food Work programme, the café is already a vibrant, well-equipped and well-run space. Now it needs extra worker capacity to cook more food, grow the customer numbers and build the catering business in order to ensure long-term financial sustainability. Organiclea is committed to supporting this process by offering financial and administrative support, connection to other parts of our work and support for the development of a co-operative model to operate the café.

The team
The tasks and responsibilities and personal qualities we think are required to run the café are outlined in this document. We are looking for a team of people to fulfil these roles, rather than one person, so you do not need to fulfil every aspect of the responsibilities and experience/skills requirements outlined. It is envisaged that each member of the team will take the lead responsibility for certain aspects of the café’s work (eg menu planning, marketing) but that team members will share in the actual delivery of tasks as appropriate to their skillset.

We expect the café to be able to generate enough income to support at least three part-time paid roles, and some sessional work. The café will also support a wide range of volunteer roles. Exact role descriptions for each individual will be developed as part of the team building process, alongside creating a business plan for the café and agreeing what initial financial support will be provided by Organiclea.

How to apply
If you are interested in being part of this café enterprise, whether in a voluntary or paid capacity, we want to hear from you! Please send a letter of application outlining how your experience and commitment matches the café’s requirements and what role you feel able to play in the café team. You can email or post this to:

Marlene Barrett
Organiclea Community Growers
Hornbeam Centre
458 Hoe Street
Walthamstow, E17 9AH

Closing date for applications is 5pm, Tuesday 16 August.

We will invite suitable applicants to meet with us for an interview on Friday 19 August. Successful participants will then need to commit to a number of team development meetings facilitated by Organiclea in late August and September to confirm the allocation of specific roles and responsibilities within the café team, finalise a business plan and establish the team’s relationship to Organiclea. We expect the team to trial working together from the beginning of September.

We may not be able to respond individually to all applicants, so if you do not hear from us, please accept our appreciation for the time you have put into your application, and we’re sorry that you haven’t been successful this time.

Download the roles and responsibilities document

The café is currently open Wednesday to Saturday 10.30am–5pm plus occasional Sunday lunches and evening events. Catering in-house at the Hornbeam Centre and elsewhere locally is a growing part of the kitchen’s work.

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