We’re very proud to be a community business. Geographically located in the Poets’ Corner area of Hove, we also draw most of our fabulous volunteers from the community. But it’s not just that that makes us a community supported bakery.
We exist because a crowd of 273 people, 75% of whom live locally, backed our Crowdfunder. They not only pledged their financial support, but gave us so much more – confidence we were wanted, their custom, their support. A year on (Saturday was our first birthday), we feel like we really belong. Thank you to our Crowdfunders, thank you to our fabulous customers.
Thank you, because by buying our bread, coming to our breadmaking workshops, just sharing what we do, you are helping us to nourish the community’s wellbeing. Since opening on Stoneham Road, we’ve baked tens of thousands of loaves, bagels, and buns, but we’ve also used breadmaking to support people’s wellbeing. We’ve worked with approximately 120 individuals from groups working with young carers, school children, retired people, employment support claimants. All these people have benefitted from working with dough, producing bread, and socialising with others.
Splitting our week between bread sales and these workshops means we can nourish the community – with our delicious bread, but with the therapeutic nature of baking too.
Last week was a real snapshot of what the Bakehouse is all about. On Tuesday morning I ran a workshop for people wanting to learn about breads made with olive oil. We baked some great fougasse and focaccia, and enjoyed pizza for lunch. Sitting and eating with people is such a powerful experience. With food in their hands, conversations are had, experiences shared. During the afternoon I met with one of our super volunteers to chat about plans for the future and growing our team. I love how others are so enthusiastic and committed to the project.
Wednesday morning saw the Bakehouse open its doors to the children from the Lion Care School. It’s a little local school hidden away in Poets’ Corner which offers a program of education for children with complex social, emotional, and behavioural difficulties, and who are outside mainstream schooling. I worked with a small group making breadsticks and flatbreads. The pride and excitement they showed as their breads came out of the oven was uplifting.
Wednesday afternoons are dough prep for the Thursday bake, and we’re lucky to have Zac joining us on a volunteer placement from Team Domenica. They support young adults with learning difficulties in getting into employment. It’s a great project, and Zac’s going to be working with us for the next few months gaining experience of baking bread.
Our volunteer team baked throughout Thursday, Friday and Saturday, producing amazing bread. Not only that, but we chatted, laughed, and made connections.
For a long while we’ve looked at the Bakehouse’s impact on wellbeing in response to the NEF’s 5 Ways to Wellbeing. This week we’ve connected with a new group within our community. We’ve been active, shaping kilos of dough into loaves, buns and bagels. We’ve been able to give children the chance to bake. We’ve taken notice of the loaves as they come out of the oven, children delighting in the crackles of the loaf. And finally we’ve learnt (or maybe been reminded) how baking bread can help nourish a community.
The Bakehouse team is going to be taking a short break next week, resuming baking on the 31st August. It’ll be 100 days since we opened this Saturday, and with wellbeing at the heart of our venture, we need to spend a few days with family and friends to recharge the batteries (we’ll also be planning some exciting developments for the Bakehouse in the months to come).
We’ll be open as usual 10-1pm and 2:30-4pm this week (Thursday 17th – Saturday 19th), so please do come and visit before our break. You may even want to stock up your freezer with a loaf or two.
Our bread freezes really well (in fact many customers already buy bread to freeze). Wrap the loaves tightly in cling film so they don’t dry out in the freezer, then defrost for a great loaf whilst we’re away.
As many of our customers have told us, our bread lasts really well, being good for toast for a good number of days after baking. Real Bread (like ours) with none of the commercial additives will be useable for a good while. It will gradually dry out, but then its fabulous for making croutons, breadcrumbs, or dishes like bruschetta. For more ideas for using your old bread check out this link.
Community involvement in Stoneham Bakehouse is part of our ethos, we want to be able to help nourish the community. In September we will be starting to work with a few new organisations. The Lion Care School on Payne Avenue will be joining us to bake, as well as pupils coming down to the Bakehouse to buy their bread each week. We’re also looking to work with the Trust for Developing Communities to run a baking group for some of the areas’ older residents.
It’s exciting to see these community projects getting off the ground; using the therapeutic nature of bread making to support wellbeing.
It’s now a couple of months since we opened our doors, and we’re humbled by the way we’ve been embraced by the community. Thank you for all of your support.
We’ve started to get workshops running on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with community groups and charities such as Rise UK and the Young Carers having been to bake with us on Stoneham Road. The bakery is open to the community to buy bread Thursday-Saturday, with a promise that all breads will be out of the oven by 10am. However, if you walk past earlier and there is a loaf on the shelf, please do pop in and buy it.
Over a couple of evenings during July we were able to say thank you to some of our Crowdfunder supporters with a VIP Pizza Night. It was really great to be able to chat to these crowdfunders and provide them with a chance to see the Bakehouse up and running, and be able to eat pizza straight from the oven. Thank you to everyone who contributed to our campaign; we’re so thankful to everyone who has helped us on our journey.
Our aim is to nourish the community with our bread and breadmaking. Our bread is proving popular, and now we have our systems established, we’re starting more of our breadmaking workshops. Over the next four or five months we’ve got a series of workshops offering the chance to learn different breadmaking techniques. From the basics, to more advanced techniques, we’ll be offering these opportunities on Tuesday evenings, or during the day. We’ve even got some workshops for you and your child to learn to bake during the summer holidays. Check out the individual workshops on our Eventbrite page, or on the image below.