Because we’re a grassroots organisation – and because so many of you support us through Patreon and with your time – we think it’s only right that we’re transparent about how MUD’s finances work (this blog has been on our to-do list for at least two years).
MUD has been feeding people since 2017, thanks to a mix of crowdfunding and grants – along with the money we earn from trading, events and selling fresh produce. Right from the start our aim has been to become self-financing, and to always pay staff a living wage.
Jo in 2017 clearing the overgrowth from the original pathway.
MUD is a Community Interest Company A CIC is not a charity – though we would love the tax breaks! – but more like a limited company dedicated to helping local places and people. It has a constitution where these objectives are written down.
For example, one of our objectives is to ‘develop spaces for and host regular volunteer sessions and events for diverse groups and cultures, promoting community cohesion’.
As a CIC, our wages are capped at a percentage of what the business earns and the rest goes into achieving those objectives. Which brings us to the first point: staff wages.
Everyone earns a living wage Our founders Mike, Jo and Sam work full time and are paid £19,500 per year (£9.60 per hour). Our six part-time staff are paid a living wage, and our volunteer coordinators kindly work for free until we can find a way to reinstate funding. Staff get 31 days holiday pro rata, annual wellbeing days, free lunches, paid lunch break and weekly free yoga.
Now, ideally, these wages will increase beyond the bite of inflation, and we’ll be able to pay our volunteer coordinators. Right now, we simply cannot afford to plug the gaps. Times are hard for everyone, which is why we’re committed to offering our free Community Lunch every Friday. On average we feed about 60 people a week including volunteers. Community Lunch is free, £3 or £5 depending on what people can afford. This cash contributes to the cost of ingredients.
Everyone sitting down to enjoy Community Lunch.
Volunteers keep the garden growing Volunteers are essential to the success of Platt Fields Market Garden and to the business. Just last year they gave 9,500 hours to help PFMG and our other projects grow and they are proof of what can be achieved by a community with a purpose. You can see for yourself how far we’ve come together in our gallery. MUD uses any sales surpluses to pay for the unfunded volunteer days – including free hot lunch and brews – and to pay for site development and management of the PFMG.
Long term, we want to employ community outreach officers who can bring an even wider group of people from the community into all of our projects. But right now money and time is very restricted, and ultimately outreach doesn’t get the full attention it needs and deserves.
Sustainability is always the goal Both for our finances and for food systems. We’re always learning, and chipping away at the problem of generating enough income to run the PFMG without relying on external funding – through events, private venue hire and experience days. But also by sharing our expertise: we’ve proven that the community garden model works and can be replicated. We’re ready to teach others and go from a local CIC to a full on movement.
Are you with us?
If you want to support us with sponsorship, take a look at our new flyer, available here as a PDF file
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Or sign up as a volunteer here.
Want more data?
No problem. 21/22 accounts have been published and are available on companies house. We will be publishing our impact report soon too. Sign up to our newsletter for updates via our events page.