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Five Benefits of the Cinnamon Incubation Process

Today’s Cinnamon Bite features MakeLunch founder Rachel Warwick, reflecting on the Cinnamon project incubation process.

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Rachel Warwick

Today, we are celebrating MakeLunch’s 5th anniversary. MakeLunch is a national charity working through a network of churches to provide meals during school holidays for children and families who rely on free school meals during term time. Our first Kitchen opened its doors on 19th July 2011 and we haven’t looked back. By the end of that first summer we had served 300 meals in 3 locations and I knew I’d started something important. What I didn’t know was how to run a charity.

That’s when a friend introduced me to Matt Bird and we became Cinnamon’s first incubated project. For MakeLunch, this means we’ve grown further, faster and more effectively than we might ever have believed. Being incubated by Cinnamon Network has given us:

1. Leadership Development – mentoring, training and advice for me and for the team. We’ve ML6benefitted from one-to-one support from people with high-level experience of franchising, strategy, human resources and change management.
2. A network – Cinnamon’s reputation with the Church across the UK meant that for the first 4 years of MakeLunch we did barely any marketing at all, and yet our list of Kitchens grew from 3 to 50 in that time. Through the Cinnamon Network word spread about MakeLunch – people were talking about us at events, online and in church services.
3. Strategic Input – the Cinnamon team have helped us define our strategy for growth, recruit new team members, apply for funding, register our name and logo as trademarks, complete our charity registration and much more. Having experts to call on has meant we’ve been able to do things quickly and well.
4. Funding – being incubated by Cinnamon meant that our core costs for the last three years have been covered. For a new project like us, that’s an invaluable gift, allowing us to focus on establishing what we do and what our best practice looks like without having to fill in grant application forms.
5. Confidence – the Cinnamon Network gave us reputation beyond what a fledgling charity might expect to have. It gave us the confidence to approach networks and organisations and aim higher in what we expected of ourselves.

Make Lunch Logo StraplineGrown FastSince that first meal was served five years ago today, we’ve delivered over 36,000 meals. This summer we’ve got 52 Kitchens open for more than 500 days between them. More churches sign up for training every week and we’ve just started working with the Mayor’s Fund for London to deliver holiday provision in four London boroughs this summer. This may be just the beginning, but thanks to the Cinnamon Network’s incubation, it’s been the strongest start we could hope for.

Through our project lab, we have started the incubation process for two new charities, Renew37 and Care Home Friends. You can read more HERE. You can also read Mark Kitson’s 5 top tips for charity startups HERE.

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