The Gateway Collective
One of the things I love about living in Liverpool is that there’s always something just around the corner to surprise you! I’ve recently discovered a fantastic community project and have been working with them to communicate their values, improve their social media and grow their brand.
I’ve always got an eye out for local and independent food businesses. I was contacted by The Gateway Collective, a community garden based in Bootle – I’d never heard of them before but the instant I tasted their delicious jams and chutneys, I had to find out more about their story!
The Gateway Collective is the brainchild of Ali and Janet, two friends with a passion for people and a genuine desire to support their local community. Together they started their social enterprise to encourage residents to bring their own skills to a community garden, fuelled by the belief that a collective can achieve so much more than isolated individuals.
With a background in horticulture, Janet began growing some vegetables in her own garden. They managed to secure a site with 10 raised beds on a narrow strip of land in North Park Community Garden – which has since expanded to encompass a disused a 5-a-side football pitch. The girls started to work with local families to help them grow their own fresh produce, eventually allowing them to take over full responsibility for the raised beds.
Meanwhile, Ali got busy in the kitchen turning Janet’s fruits and vegetables into homemade jams and chutneys. The idea was to make them available through their very own online store, with all the profits going back into the development of the community garden.
This is where I came in. Ali wanted some ideas for making the jam and chutney side of the business more visible on Social Media and the more I worked on this brand, the more I fell in love with what it stands for. To define their voice, I helped Ali and Janet to create their very own ‘Recipe for Success’ by identifying keywords and phrases which reflected their brand and its values. Talking about roots, growth and nourishment comes naturally to these ladies – regardless of whether they’re referring to plants or people!
The friends are passionate about helping people in the community to learn new skills, improve their employability, and develop new friendships, with a focus on promoting positive mental health and wellbeing through all their activities. This community works together, grows together and eats together. As Ali says “If you want to reap the rewards, you have to get your hands dirty first!”
Ali also told me how she’d found an old (and possibly stolen!) library book at her Granny’s house and used this to make those first traditional chutneys as a gift for her. I thought this was a wonderful story and used it as inspiration for a new tagline for the Collective; ‘Preserving History’.
We were careful to focus on communicating the Collective’s ‘Homegrown and Handmade’ values in everything we did, as well as highlighting that their products contain 100% natural ingredients and are suitable for vegans.
Gateway’s ethos is clear – to unite, nourish and nurture their thriving local community. The number of project volunteers increases every year, and the collective now grows over 300kg of fresh fruit and vegetables annually. To further encourage the community spirit, I showed them how they could communicate online as they would in person – by encouraging conversation amongst their community and displaying their expertise in horticulture.
I also devised ideas for promotional posts which would drive traffic to the new online store and remind customers that the proceeds of any jam and chutney sales would be used to support this fantastic local community project.
As well as assisting with its online messaging, I was able to identify several offline growth opportunities for The Gateway Collective by focusing on local vegan and vegetarian retailers and collaborating with other local artisan producers. I was also able to introduce Ali to a wider support group through my Liverpool Food Network platform.
The Gateway Collective is a truly inspiring yet down-to-earth business which deserves success – and with a product this delicious, I have no doubt that success will come!