Jamrock Catering, based in West Bromwich is a business that was created to help others from the very beginning. As well as specialising in West Indian food the business has also offered care and catering for youth organisations and community events, provided work and training to vulnerable and homeless people and involved the local community in the business too.
Little wonder then that 2019 Jamrock Catering was a finalist in the BusinessesForSale.com Small Business Big Heart Awards and achieved the Business Heart Commendation accolade.
Founder Doreen Allen’s son put her forward for the award. He says, “This business has one of the biggest hearts in the world, this lady has integrated the community into her business.”
What made Jamrock stand out from so many other entries was the way in which it involved and empowered local people to build their own skills and esteem. There are numerous examples of this from the testimonials received.
In one instance the business needed a new logo. Rather than briefing a local designer Doreen launched two competitions for the students of Sandwell college; one to design a logo for Jamrock Catering and one to design a logo for company based in Barbados. This was the first time the students had the opportunity to design for a genuine commercial client. As well as having their winning logos used each of the winners received £50 and were given client references.
On another occasion, when Jamrock was catering at an event they forged a fantastic relationship with a family who attended. The father of the family says, “When we met we talked about family and the challenges of bringing up kids, and there was a real understanding and empathy.
My sons wanted to help and our Tommy, in particular, was keen to have the opportunity to learn about catering, as he is taking GCSE food and nutrition at school. The Jamrock team were very welcoming and spent their precious time to show him the different processes that need to be followed.
After the event, we stayed in touch. Tommy continues to have his own challenges at school but is trying very hard, and I felt the generosity of Doreen and the staff massively helped him.”
As well as helping those outside the business Jamrock is committed to employing and empowering its own people too. Over the years Doreen has given the homeless and vulnerable not only jobs and associated also training but also helped them to get on their feet by finding them homes and helping them with additional life skills like learning to pass their driving test.
One current member of staff says, “Being in Jamrock Catering has been very inspiring and helped me improve my skills. I’ve learnt a lot from mass cooking to electrical work, LPG, camping and the whole nine yards. Joining the Jamrock catering team is like an extended family, we get very well looked after. Jamrock Catering has bettered me as a person and my life.”
For another, who came from a very humble background with a very unsupportive family Jamrock has proven to be a great lifeline. Since joining the team he has never been afraid to tackle work nor to learn new things. Over the years he’s learnt several methods for cooking, dealt with the logistics of moving Jamrock equipment from site to site, taken on driving duties and eventually qualified for and become the business’ PAT tester.
A colleague reports, “He’s grown in personality, confidence and in the range of catering skills seen and unseen in the background. He is without a doubt an asset in the Jamrock team and earned the respect of those who know him well.”
And alongside the many individuals, Jamrock helps Doreen offers her fantastic food at cost and her catering team for free to worthy organisations and events including the Dudley Youth Awards, plus Jamrock donates gifts for the needy. Jamrock has catered at high profile events and quiet family affairs and takes the same positive, compassionate and passionate approach to each and every one of them.
Humble as ever Doreen concludes, “We treat everyone with total respect, I support any good cause, knife crime to homeless people. We can change someone life by a smile, hello or just asking are you ok? What does that cost? Nothing. But it could save someone’s life when we take the time, to listen to observe that the world is filled with hurting people.”