JOB VACANCY: Talking Shop – Project Initiation Officer – Food Team Lead, for Sandford Talking Shop Ltd

Job location (usual place of work): Talking Shop, The Village Hall, Henley Road, Sandford-on-Thames, OX4 4YN, Oxfordshire

Pay rate: £13/hour

Pay is pro rata?: No

Job title: Project Initiation Officer – Food Team Lead, for Sandford Talking Shop Ltd

Applications close on date: Applications deadline: 5pm Friday 1st July (Interviews: Evenings of Wednesday 6th / Thursday 7th July)

Hours are: Part time

Contract is: Fixed term

Job summary: Role Description: Project Initiation Officer – Food Team Lead

Responsible to: Sandford Talking Shop Ltd Board

Responsible for: Leading development of systems & volunteer teams to establish a sustainable weekday community café, including a food education programme and opportunities for community eating

Working arrangements: average of 15 hours per week for 6 months (total of 360 hours), over at least 2 days per week to include a Tuesday – timings to be agreed. Freelance working using own equipment, including computer and mobile phone. Any holiday dates to be agreed before the start of the contract so as to ensure cover is available.

Duration of contract: starting July 2016 for 6 months. We hope that successful completion of this freelance contract will lead to definition of longer‐term post.

Pay: £13/ hour, to be invoiced monthly in arrears

Background: Talking Shop is a project set up to bring people together, to break down barriers in the community, to share skills and to bring valuable resources and services back to people’s doorsteps. Much of what we do centres on great local food and we believe that everyone should have access to affordable, tasty, healthy food, irrespective of income.

During the past 5 years the market & café have become an integral part of local life, a valuable route to market for local producers, an incubator for local food start-ups and a vibrant social hub. We have run workshops and activities through the market to build local skills in growing and cooking local food. In recent years volunteers have established a popular monthly lunch club for older residents and the project has started a weekly lunch café on Fridays and a monthly ‘pay what you can afford’ Food Surplus Café. Talking Shop moved into its own new space at the village hall in Sandford last year. A commercial grade kitchen was installed last autumn. Work is underway to develop the infrastructure, systems and volunteer teams to open the space as a shop & café through the week and on Saturdays and we want to continue to develop and extend our education programmes and our community outreach.

We have a great team of volunteers, of all ages and from all backgrounds (over 80 across all of our work). They are at the heart of the project. Our teams are mixed and inclusive. Working with the local health charity Restore we provide volunteering opportunities for their members, offering one more step forward for people recovering from mental ill health.


Working alongside another Project Initiation Officer who is leading development of the Community Shop, this role will lead on our Community Café and local food work –
• developing and implementing a model for longer-term delivery of a sustainable community café, serving a high standard of food, at affordable prices, with a volunteer team of mixed abilities and confidence;
• building food skills development and learning opportunities into the model for this diverse volunteer team and the wider community, including a weekly cooking group to make food for sale in the café;
• supporting the Food Surplus Café Team and enabling a range of opportunities to bring the community together over good food.

Main duties & responsibilities:
• Lead on planning and implementation for delivery of a community café through the week
• Develop community led menus with an emphasis on local food and to suit a range of budgets
• Ensure menus are in line with gross profit targets established in the business plan
• Develop recipes and processes that enable a range of volunteers to deliver the vision
• Ensure quality and consistency of food produced
• Implement and ensure food hygiene and health and safety practices are adhered to
• Lead teams of volunteers to cook for the project
• Work alongside and support volunteers from a variety of backgrounds

Person specification


Experience in:
• Professional experience and/or qualifications in catering
• High standard of cooking and working with local seasonal ingredients
• Design of innovative and profitable menus that provide tasty, healthy food for people on a budget
• Managing a food business
• Working with volunteers and or vulnerable people

Skills and abilities
• Good organisational and problem solving abilities
• Ability to work within a demanding environment and deliver to agreed timescales
• Strong inter-personal skills and able to work with a diverse range of people
• Commitment to community-led work

Competent ability to:
• communicate in a friendly personable way
• manage and work in teams
• work independently and take the initiative
• work and get on with a wide range of people

Candidates must be suitable for work with vulnerable people and will need to undergo a successful DBS check.

Computer and IT literate; word, excel, email, internet and social media


Skills, experience and competencies:
• Experience of community-led projects
• Project planning and management

Two Opportunities
We are also advertising a Saturday Market Officer post and candidates that wish to do so can apply for both roles

To apply, please contact: Application by CV and covering letter (explaining how you meet the person specification) by email to Any questions should also be directed to Abi on this email address.

Project website: / facebook –

Applications deadline: 5pm Friday 1st July

Interviews: Evenings of Wednesday 6th / Thursday 7th July

Time: June 20, 2016 at 11:07 am
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