Who we are:
Loveworks Co-operative Limited (Loveworks) is a worker-owned enterprise in North Belfast. Our operations include an artisan bakery/café/catering service, gardening & landscaping service, and a bike repair workshop.
Our Vision & Values:
Our vision is to generate dignity and wellbeing for people: for our workers, and for the community we are part of, by giving workers the right to decide the best way forward, and by supporting a vibrant, family-based community.
We want to create a welcoming and inclusive working environment that sustains livelihoods, healthy relationships, and provides a place of belonging.
We want to create a pathway of progression for our workers that empowers them to overcome barriers like having a criminal record, addiction problems, poor mental health, and/or housing issues.
What we're doing:
Our café/bakery team has, until recently, operated a weekly pop-up café event out of an old church hall, baking incredible sourdough loaves, sweet bakes, and breakfasts. While this has been very successful, we have been limited in our ability to develop this further at this venue. In January 2020, we took on the lease of a café space at The Duncairn - a prominent arts & culture venue in North Belfast. This has made it possible for us to provide a daily café and catering service for the local community. While we are delighted with the growing customer demand for this service, we want to look after our workers, and ensure we have adequate capacity to sustain worker wellbeing.
Community Garden Development
We would also like to develop an existing local community garden that has become neglected. We want to re-establish a team of gardeners to strengthen the sustainability of our operations through the growth of food, composting, and re-use of waste. We want to promote the importance and pleasure of growing your own, of waste reduction, and re-establish vital partnerships with local schools, charities, and probation services to utilise the garden as a space for growing great relationships as well as great fruit and veg.
How it will happen:
We want to raise these funds to enable Loveworks Cooperative to focus on the development of the local community garden and utilise its potential for the local community. We also want to use the funds to increase our workforce capacity so that more people experience a dignifying and empowering work environment. The Belfast City Council is also committed to matching what we raise through this campaign.
We are 7 full-time workers that depend on the support of about 10 volunteers. Richard founded Loveworks Cooperative in 2015. He has a medical degree and a Masters in Conflict Transformation, and had a vision for enabling young men to break out of harmful behavioural patterns, and discover a path of dignity and personal progression. He heads up the Bike Repair and Gardening & Landscaping operations. In 2018, Justin, a local artisan baker and food producer, with a wealth of experience in the Food industry, joined us to develop our Bakery operation. Leo, attracted by the sense of autonomy and equality that the worker's cooperative structure offers, quickly became Justin's protégé, and now carries the bulk of the bread-baking burden. Otto, an artist and versatile talent, is a devoted and invaluable member of the Bakery/Café team. Ryan, a plumber by trade, is also able to lend his hand to just about anything, and is an invaluable member of the Gardening & Landscaping team, as well as the Bakery/Café team. Micky is an invaluable team player, capable of supporting all 3 operations, and whose hard-working enthusiasm inspires the rest of us. Sebastian is a newly qualified chef who is excelling as part of our Café team.