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We’re about being there for our clients when it really matters. When it absolutely has to be right. Doing the right thing is both our ethos and sweet spot. And it’s why clients turn to us again and again.


I graduated from Liverpool University with a degree in Geography in 1999, and seeking variety while I decided what I wanted to do long term with my career, I began my management consultancy career at ...

Kirsty Nethersell, Partner

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Spotlight on Toast Ale & Step up to Serve

Spotlight on Toast Ale & Step up to Serve

We round up this issue with a brief update on recent pro-bono work with Toast Ale & Step up to Serve.

Toast Ale

Toast Ale was formed in January 2016 and brews awardwinning beer using unsold loaves from bakeries and unused crusts from sandwich makers. There’s a fresh slice of surplus bread in every bottle of Toast and all the profits go to the charity ‘Feedback’ to fight food waste.

It’s a win-win for the commercial sandwich-makers that Toast partner with: the heel ends of loaves are never used when making sandwiches and they will often need to pay to dispose of the waste. Instead, Toast offer a zero-cost outlet - taking the fresh surplus bread off their hands and brewing it into one of their great beers.

No wonder Toast are growing fast. They now have three brews made using unloved, fresh bread: a pale ale, IPA and a lager. They sell UK-wide - including new deals with supermarkets Tesco and Waitrose - and have also begun an exciting drive to take their beer to a global audience: already in New York, Cape Town and Iceland.

Their ambition is even greater, driven by the huge issue of food waste, Chief Toaster Rob Wilson explains “If we really want to eliminate bread waste, we need to have everyone as a partner. That’s why we have open sourced our recipe so home brewers can brew with bread themselves. We have a huge mission on our hands and we don’t have time to waste. But we also want to have fun – we believe that if you want to change the world you need to throw the best party - so it’s vital that our beer is great too!”

It’s largely due to those burgeoning growth ambitions that Berkeley have been providing pro-bono support to Toast in 2017, to help them identify the systems that they need to support their ambitious plans and work with their commercial partners – whether that’s the sandwich-makers, online retailers, licensed brewing partners or supermarkets. This has focussed on supporting Toast to select systems to support the growing business, focussing on integrating their finance systems with CRM, supply chain and EDI functionality.

Berkeley consultant, Andrew Taylor, commented “Working with everyone at Toast has been great fun, but the systems challenges were considerable. The combination of the rate of growth, the current small scale of the organisation and their specific business model are unlike those of most Berkeley clients. But working with this combination of challenges and opportunities meant careful judgment in weighing systems options and considering how and when Toast might best adopt them. It was a great example of Berkeley’s approach to tailoring our support for each client, recognising different needs and the different types of input required.”

Chief Toaster, Rob Wilson, added “Berkeley’s insight and support has been invaluable at a critical time at Toast. They’ve really helped in shaping our thinking about how we can grow with our brand. They understood us and got who we were – that’s been vital.”

And of course, Toast Ale also now graces the fridges in Berkeley’s office at Chancery Lane. Cheers!


Step up to Serve / the #iwill campaign

We’ve supported Step up to Serve and the #iwill campaign since their inception in 2013. The campaign aims to make meaningful social action a part of life for all 10 to 20 year olds across the UK, regardless of where they live or their background. Having been launched by HRH The Prince of Wales, and endorsed by senior politicians and other public figures, the campaign seeks to develop a sustainable cycle of youth social action, by:

  1. Demonstrating the benefits of youth social action – to the community and to young people’s development.
  2. Embedding social action in young people’s development from 10-20 – through educational and other youth settings.
  3. Enabling youth social action opportunities – by opening up opportunities in the public and voluntary sectors, and by increasing the scale and quality of what is available.

The raising of significant sums of money from partner organisations via the #iwill fund has helped to facilitate step-changes in progress across the three pillars, which in turn is helping to drive up participation in target demographics. And by driving investment into the right initiatives and by ensuring the relevant agencies and institutions are well connected, it is hoped the campaign’s objectives will be sustained long after it formally draws to a close in 2020.

Berkeley have been proud to support the campaign’s journey since 2013, when we were involved in the development of the original 2020 campaign strategy. Since then, we’ve continued to stay close to the team as they have progressed, and supported them on a range of challenges from the tactical to the strategic. Recent examples of Berkeley people’s involvement include:

  • Designing and facilitating a workshop to develop closer links between a wide range of national volunteering organisations, and to help forge new ‘social action journeys’.
  • Supporting the development of a board paper which set out a practical approach to investing sums from the #iwill fund.
  • Working with the leadership team to review their campaign successes to date, and to help refine their strategic priorities for the remaining three years of the campaign.

Deputy Chief Executive, Dr Rania Marandos commented “We really value the challenge and support we’ve had from Berkeley so far in our campaign. They understand what we’re about and have been happy to step in to help us solve some of the many thorny issues we’ve had over the years. I have valued the independent perspective that Berkeley brings to the table - it has been particularly helpful when facilitating key Board and stakeholder meetings.”

We are honoured to be part of the journey and look forward to supporting the campaign to a successful conclusion in 2020.


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