Crowdfund London: teaching kids about food and being healthy

28 April 2017

Last September, Punch and Juicy in Brent raised  £21,922 – including £10k from the Mayor from our Crowdfund London funding campaign. We caught up with founder Davina Roberts to find out more…

Can you tell us about your idea?

I wanted to teach children about growing food and nutrition, so I launched the Juice Academy last Easter. We actually started out as a juice bar. It was just juices and smoothies. A lot of children enjoyed what we were doing and wanted to get involved.

Our Juice Academy teaches young people where food comes from by giving them a chance to grow their own in our community garden. I’m proud that we’ve already helped over 500 young people learn about the delicious and healthy alternatives to sugary drinks.  

How has Crowdfund London helped you?

We had a vague idea of what we were going to do, but needed financial backing and advice. That’s what the crowdfund campaign gave us.  At first, it was hard to get going. We got a small amount to launch in Easter 2016. We really needed resources and equipment to get going. You know people might think it’s easy to drum up support in the community. I can tell you there’s a lot of hard work involved.

What would you tell people thinking of applying?

Go out and make that change! To be honest, we’re all change makers. But do your homework first. That means doing a lot of observation and research. You need to put yourself out there and talk to people in your community. I knew our idea would work because there’s nothing like what we’re doing round here. The place is full of fast food takeaways. So there was a real gap in the market.

Any other tips and advice?

You’ve got to make sure that once the funding’s over you have a really good enterprise that has staying power.

You should also find a good support team. It can be quite stressful otherwise. Make sure you collaborate with the right people when you’re going through this. I was a real novice on crowdfunding when I started, now look where I am!

How has it helped the local community?

I grew up in the garden, literally. Young people I’ve met today, some live in hostels, some live in flats. They don’t have that access to outdoor space. Seeing the smiles and the joy when we opened the community gardens to allow them to come in was amazing. It’s quite profound that something so simple can create such a big effect and impact.

You hit your target on 30 September 2016. What have you been up to since?

Since we hit the crowdfund target we’ve been pretty busy. At the end of last year, we got a seven foot raised bed for growing. We’ve now got a 100-foot allotment set up for food growing. We’re also engaging local schools through our Root to Market programme of food growing and food selling. We’re going to launch a market stall to keep the business going.

Do you have a great idea to make a positive change in your community? Find out more about Crowdfund London.

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