Stoneham Bakehouse CIC is a Community Supported Bakery based in the Poets' Corner area of Hove. For two years we've been a bakery without a bakery; gypsy bakers if you like, using generously given oven space across the community to bake our bread. Our bakers almost all live locally, and volunteer their time on a regular basis to mix, shape and bake dough. We also work in the community to share the therapeutic nature of making bread; something which Simon, one of our directors, came to realise the benefits of when battling with depression and anxiety.
The Bakehouse sprung up out of this realisation, and supporting wellbeing is very much at its core. One in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem in any given year, so we're helping to tackle a real social problem with our work in the community. For example, during the last couple of years we have worked with children at Hove Junior school, in a project funded by the NHS, to support their vulnerable and disadvantaged children using breadmaking as a tool to enhance their wellbeing.
As well as our project with the local school, we've worked with groups of older men, women who have experienced domestic abuse, and users of the local food bank. We've seen the huge impact baking bread can have on these, and other, groups. It's not just us who think that what we do is a good idea either:
Over the weeks our sessions brought together a group of isolated men who were experiencing mental health issues. Once a week they sat together, talked, laughed and made delicious bread and buns. The sessions were therapeutic and beneficial in the gathering together, the doing and the eating. Linda Hastings, Hop50+, Hove
An amazing session, as the parent of an autistic child who eats very little - he actually ate bread - "WOW". So pleased with everything he has learned. Thank you! Parent of child on the PlayDough wellbeing and baking programme
I'm so glad to have discovered the Bakehouse. The simple act of baking has not only been therapeutic but has helped me to focus on the present and rebuild my confidence. Baking with Stoneham Bakehouse lifts my spirits every time. Lou, volunteer baker
It's a marvellous idea that brings the community together; who wouldn't want an enterprise like this on their doorstep? My family support the Bakehouse because the bread is exceptional. Customer
We want to use our new premises as a hub for our activities. It will run as a bakery shop for part of the week, and host our work with community groups on other days. Currently we've been baking to order, with members of the public picking up bread at a specific time; but with a shop, we'll be able to offer a more traditional bread buying experience. The bread will be baked by our community volunteers, and we'll be baking in the morning, so that people can see the whole baking experience as they walk by the bakery.
Having a fixed location will also mean we can host the work we do with community groups, whether its preschool children, or groups of older people. This will really support our work, and help particpants continue to engage in the community beyond the end of the series of workshops they attend. Imagine, someone comes to a workshop as an Employment Support Allowance claimant, finds it therapeutic and worthwhile, so gets involved as a volunteer baker, and then perhaps even (as we grow) gets a part time job with us. We want to build peoples' skills and experience, so that they can support their own wellbeing through employment and community involvement.
We have secured premises and have started the process of filling, sanding and painting to get it ready; but we need to kit it out with everything that will make it a successful community bakery. Our vision is to bring a bread oven back into the heart of the community. Our new premises on Stoneham Road is next door to the location of the former neighbourhood bakery, and the old Clarks' Bread sign is still on the back of the building. The £20,000 we're asking for will help us fulfil our dream, by giving us the funding we require to purchase:
- a professional 3 deck oven £7500
- mixer £1500
- catering fridge £1500
- prover £1500
- water heater £500
- 3 Phase electricity installation and rewiring £3500
- extraction £2000
- other equipment and bakery needs. £1000
With a bakery of our own, we can secure the future of the project by enabling us to offer a more substantial wholesale service to commercial customers. We can involve more people in the baking, as volunteers, and in time staff. We can support more disadvantaged groups. We can nourish the community.
We've got some great rewards for anyone who wants to help us out. You can get your hands on one of our new tote bags or some of our delicious community baked bread, get vouchers to learn to bake, or even tickets to an exclusive Pizza Night at the Bakehouse.
If you live further away, and can't get to our bakerhouse easily, why not choose one of our rewards which allow you to donate your gift to someone else? We've teamed up with Hove Luncheon Club who provides a healthy and hot three-course meal for isolated older people, once a week. We'll give the Club vouchers, enabling members to get a loaf of bread a week for a month.
We're also giving you the opportunity to donate the chance to attend one of our breadmaking workshops to a member of our local community who is on benefits or low income. We often get enquiries from people wanting low cost breadmaking, so we'd like to be able to give everyone the chance to learn how to make their own loaf.