Skills for life

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


Fat Macy’s trains aspiring chefs to serve up food with heart, creating a recipe that helps young Londoners make the journey from hostel to home.

Fat Macy’s is a social enterprise committed to providing opportunities for young Londoners living in homeless hostel accommodation. We run supper club events and in-hostel catering training boot camps to create a framework through which participants can overcome the financial barriers preventing them from moving into rented accommodation, whilst gaining valuable work experience, and giving them the confidence to challenge the perception of homelessness.

Fat Macy’s combines excellent food with social enterprise expertise – creating a unique model that not only serves delicious food to Londoners, but constructs a much-needed pathway from hostel to home for our trainees.

Fat Macy’s has a hybrid business model. The for-profit business is a social enterprise that works directly with the Fat Macy’s Foundation – a charitable incorporated organisation. This hybrid model ensures that we have a trading arm – Fat Macy’s Ltd, and a grant giving charity arm – Fat Macy’s Foundation. A percentage of Fat Macy’s Ltd profits are donated into the Fat Macy’s Foundation which provides our trainees with the opportunity to apply for a housing grant to cover a deposit for their first homes.

When living in temporary homeless hostel accommodation, residents find it increasingly challenging to save money for independent living due to the benefit system, sanctions and the daily expense of hostel living. 

Under Housing Benefit legislation, anyone working over 16 hours per week is not entitled to a full allowance, and so the more you work, the more benefits are reduced. For those living in temporary accommodation, this means paying an increasingly hefty chunk of the £1000+ monthly rent. This creates a precarious situation where residents are unable to work full time, and are unable to save any money for a housing deposit.

A YMCA report found that 78% of those surveyed suggested that not being able to afford a deposit was very likely or likely to prevent them from finding somewhere to move on.
Two thirds of all YMCA residents interviewed said they were unable to save any money during their time living in a homeless hostel.

Fat Macy’s identifies an innovative way of helping facilitate the transition from hostel accommodation into independent living. It stems from the idea that people need a real, tangible incentive to do something, especially if they have had to adapt to living in the chaotic, volatile and fragile environment that hostel accommodation so often presents.

Our unique financial model, in which we are able to save housing deposits on behalf of our beneficiaries, ensures that our model overcomes the huge barrier for those living in temporary accommodation and homeless hostels. Our pathway begins with a five day in-hostel training bootcamp in catering, hospitality and employability. All trainees who complete the programme will leave with a Level 2 Food Hygiene qualification, the experience of positive psychology coaching, one-to-one support in CV writing, covering letters and interview tips, and basic catering and hospitality training.

Those who are accepted onto the Fat Macy’s volunteer traineeship are then given 150 hours of work experience at Fat Macy’s supper clubs and catering events, providing work experience and further training. As trainees complete certain time milestones (50, 100, 125 hours) they are eligible to apply for two forms of photographic identification, a month’s travel pass and work uniform to facilitate the journey to independent living. Once trainees reach 150 hours they are eligible to apply for a housing deposit grant of £1200.

Fat Macy's

Moment of Pride

Fat Macy's unique model which allows our incredible trainees who are experiencing homelessness to change their circumstances and get themselves out of their current situation. We don't offer handouts - our trainees are actively involved in every step of their journey from hostel to home.

Location: London