Edinburgh's Scran Academy and Prep Table merge

Two Edinburgh-based social impact organisations have joined forces, with the move accelerated by their collaboration during the pandemic.

John Loughton and Fiona Donaldson. Picture: Scran Academy.

Youth charity Scran Academy, which yesterday celebrated its third anniversary, has formally united with catering enterprise Prep Table Scotland, which aims to make the food industry more open, fair and ethical for producers, suppliers, staff and customers.

Conversations to join forces were “well under way” before the pandemic hit the UK, but both taking part in the Scran Meals Programme, developed to feed the most vulnerable in Edinburgh during lockdown, was a “real testing ground and accelerating force for integrating both organisations”. The programme has produced and delivered more than 112,500 meals to around 3,500 people in the capital.

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All core delivery, assets and staff will continue within the Scran Academy operations. This primarily includes the café in the NHS Comely Bank Centre becoming the Scran Café (which will be a trading element that creates job placements for young people), securing employment for the Prep Table staff team and the Prep Table Scotland assets transferring.

John Loughton, founder of Scran Academy, said: “We see [the merger] as a mature and exciting move that helps us all collectively deliver better social outcomes than either of us could have alone.

"The epic response we were able to initiate in these last four months immediately proves how important it is for social enterprises to work together and embrace change. When things got really tough, we recognised we needed to collaborate, not simply compete.”

“Our new increased capacity will see us continue to build a social catering business model that is better known, creates more jobs, enhances our impact and critically creates more life changing opportunities for young people.”

Fiona Donaldson, founder of Prep Table Scotland, said: “Both organisations had concerns about losses incurred from the cancellation of income-generating events, the closure of schools and the café.

"This decision [to merge] has delivered a long-term plan for young people in Edinburgh, to flourish and to engage with their community. It has given hope to people who feared for their jobs in the catering industry and that’s a proud legacy of my organisation.”

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