FUNDRAISING NEWS: GP helps community with fair trade coffee

Tania Mason

A Sheffield GP has launched a social enterprise which provides work for young people with disabilities and raises funds for charities and community groups through the sale of coffee.

Dr Paul Hodgkin founded Get Fresh Community Coffee this year. He sources and supplies fair-trade coffee to local charities and community groups, which apply their own bespoke labels to packs and sell them on at market prices to raise funds and promote their causes.

The coffee is roasted, ground and packaged by a subsidiary division, Buster's Coffee Merchants, which is staffed by young people with learning disabilities. Dr Hodgkin founded Buster's after meeting Mark Powell, who runs disability enterprise network In My Back Yard and was seeking a suitable project for the youngsters he helps.

Buster's was funded by a grant from the Sheffield Community Enterprise Development Unit.

Since its test launch, the enterprise has proved so successful that Buster's has now hired a full-time business manager, is moving to bigger premises and is set to increase production from one day a week to five. The coffee will also get new packaging and labels.

Most of Get Fresh's customers are government offices, the health sector and community organisations, but it is now targeting catering outlets and coffee shops. Dr Hodgkin plans to eventually expand the business nationwide.

"It's a good quality product comparable with top line brands. People also get a glow by supporting their local community," he said.

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