We’re sometimes asked what a community supported bakery is. So, I thought I’d explain what it means to us. To us it’s a combination of different aspects that make us different from a ‘normal bakery’.
Firstly, and importantly, we were helped to set up our little Bakehouse by a successful crowdfunding campaign. A crowdfunding campaign which got 273 backers, the majority of which were from the local community. They really bought in to the project, bringing us much needed funding, but the confidence that this was a business which the community wanted.
Secondly, we have a volunteer team of bakers who bake our delicious bread Thursday-Saturday. Our team is made of people from across the community; by people from different ages and backgrounds. They bake for different reasons; whether it’s just to be able to bake more than they do at home, to be involved in a community business, or to support their wellbeing through baking. We pride ourselves in the way the team brings people together, and makes the Bakehouse a place where the community can come to meet, chat, and of course buy bread.
Finally, and most importantly, we work with groups, using breadmaking as a way to nourish the community. From local schools, to young carers, refugees, to older members of society, we want to share how baking bread can support our community. Projects like our BreadShed project for example, which works with older people to tackle isolation through getting together at the Bakehouse to bake bread, chat, and connect.
As a social enterprise we use the profits from the sale of our bread and workshops to support and fund these projects. So every loaf, bagel, bun, workshop, apron or tote bag you buy helps us to nourish the community. It helps us to be a community supported bakery. It helps us make a difference to the wellbeing of the community.
It’s fast approaching Easter, and the need for baking Hot Cross Buns is growing stronger.
As with last year, we will be baking the traditional buns on Good Friday (19th) morning, before having the afternoon and the Saturday (20th) to spend time with family and friends. Usual opening hours will resume after the Easter weekend.
Doors will open at 10am as usual, so come along and join the queue to get Poets’ Corner’s finest Hot Cross Buns. Importantly, for every bun you buy you will be helping us to run projects with members of the community, using breadmaking to support wellbeing. April is Stress Awareness Month, and it’s good to remember that for many stress can have a massive effect on their wellbeing.
Working in the heart of the community is a real privilege. It’s rewarding when people pop in to say the loaf they had last week was extra specially delicious. It’s also incredibly rewarding to see how people we work with have used breadmaking to support their wellbeing. We’ve reached the mid point of our latest Lottery funded BreadShed group, working with older people to tackle isolation and build confidence through breadmaking, and we can see how baking together, having a chance to talk to others, is having a positive effect.
“There’s nothing like working together in a group to learn new skills. This has inspired me and helps my self-esteem no end”.
We love how baking a loaf can be so supportive of people’s wellbeing, and bring such fun.
We love our customers. We love the way you flock to buy our cinnamon buns on a Saturday morning, often queueing out the door to do so. We love the way you meet people in the Bakehouse and chat about what’s going on in Poets’ Corner. We love the fact that you feel we’re a safe place to talk about mental health. Thank you for making us feel valued and a part of the community. We want to say thank you to you too. So we’ve introduced a loyalty card. Buy 12 of our loaves, and we’ll give you a 13th one free. It’s easy; each time you come get a stamp on the card for the loaves you buy, and a free loaf will come your way when you get to 12.
Baking bread can really bring a smile to your face, as can talking to others and connecting with members of the community. Bread Shed allows you to do all this for free. We’re excited to have a new Bread Shed group for the over 50s starting at the Bakehouse this coming Monday. Funded by a grant from the Big Lottery Fund, its an informal chance to bake, chat and make connections.
At Stoneham Bakehouse we have wellbeing at the very heart of what we do. We strive to support the wellbeing of the those we work with through making bread. Over the last few months we’ve developed a great project which has been helping tackle isolation amongst older members of the community. Our Bread Shed project, as its called, has been a great success, positively impacting on peoples’ lives.
“I’ve lost several members of my family. So I felt totally isolated. The Bakehouse has opened up a bit of a social life for me, which I thoroughly enjoy.”
We bake, we chat, we connect; and I’m really pleased to say we’ll be continuing to do so into the Autumn and the New Year, thanks to a grant from Hove & Portslade Aid in Sickness Association, as well as the money received from Waitrose’s Community Matters scheme. We really appreciate this support, and thank you if you shopped at Waitrose and gave us your green token vote. With your help we’ll be able to give more people the chance to experience how baking can build confidence and help tackle isolation.
With wellbeing in mind we’ll be taking our usual Summer break during the second half of August. Our last bake before the break will be on August 4th, with us returning to bake in September. During this time we’ll be getting on with some maintenance and planning, as well as giving us a chance to spend time with families and friends. Thanks so much for all of your support over the last few months. We really appreciate it. Have a great Summer.