A Sheffield lunch delivery firm is teaming up with a city charity to provide healthy food that also gives homeless people the chance to learn new job skills.
Deliverd has been set up by Ricki Unger and her business partner Paul Rawlings.
Ricki said: “We want to make it really, really easy for people to have healthy meals. What seems to happen is that the busier you get and the more stressed you are, the less time you have to take care of your health.
“If you don’t, you’re less able to manage your stress and you’re less productive, so it makes more sense to have both.
“It is a problem that Paul and I have struggled with when you don’t have an hour and a half to find something at lunchtime. I’d end up eating just fruit and veggies and for others it ends up just being a sandwich, even if it isn’t that healthy.
“We thought, ‘we could fix that’.”
And so Deliverd was born, with the idea of providing healthy, affordable lunches delivered to workplaces.
They began the project in Manchester but moved to Sheffield when they were offered space as a start-up business at the Dotforge business accelerator at Electric Works in Sheffield city centre.
Ricki and Paul got together with celebrity and TV personal trainer Scott Laidler. His star clients include singer Natalie Imbruglia and film star Kate Hudson.
Scott devised nutritional standards for the menu to ensure the lunches were tasty, nutritionally balanced and healthy, filled with good phyto and micro nutrients.
They also provide slow-burning energy to help people feel full for longer.
Ricki was determined that their business would have a social conscience at its heart, which is where the Archer Project for homeless people came in.
Born in Manchester but brought up in California, she had been frustrated that previous jobs in politics and not-for-profit organisations hadn’t really delivered the change she wanted to create.
She said: “This has to be integrated into the very heart of the business. You can start off with a social mission and as other stakeholders come in, that can be chipped off.
“With Deliverd there is no way to separate that social aspect from the rest of the business, so it’s protected.”
The collaboration with the project based at Sheffield Cathedral means that homeless people who are already working towards NVQ qualifications in catering learn from the Deliverd director food James Grant the skills needed to produce the lunches on the menu.
Ricki said: “James teaches them how to make the food and they get a constant stream of ingredients so they are able to move much quicker through their NVQs.”
The firm is also making deals with pub and restaurant kitchens that have spare capacity to provide more of the meals.
Customers can now order online, and soon through a phone app, then their food is delivered by bike couriers.
At present Deliverd only operates in the city centre but plans to expand to other areas of Sheffield.
Eventually there will be a members’ portal on the website where Scott will provide fitness and workout tips and members will be able to find recipes and ideas for healthy breakfasts and dinners.
The website will also have a guide to activities in customers’ local area and the food packaging will also eventually feature collectable artwork from local artists.
Ricki said: “We want to make it an experience.”