London’s artisan E5 Bakehouse has just finished a second project to support refugee women, in partnership with the charity the Refugee Council.
It took eight refugees on and taught them baking skills over seven weeks. Then, for four weeks from 1 September, the group sold the bread they baked to 35 subscribers in the area.
The subscription fee was £35, which entitled subscribers to a loaf of bread a week for seven weeks.
Ben Mackinnon, founder of E5 Bakehouse, told British Baker that E5 Bakehouse “tries to do things really well”, using renewable energy and organic ingredients.
The refugees it worked with benefited from learning the technicalities of baking and also enjoyed being part of a community.
Mackinnon said: “We have trained women from all countries and backgrounds - Congo, Iraq, Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe, for example. All training classes were conducted in English as all spoke a common level of English.”
It was the second time that E5 Bakehouse had collaborated with a group of women put forward by the Refugee Council, he said.
A previous group of eight had worked for four months in catering for cinema screenings. Seven of these were now employed on one of the bakery’s mobile stands.
This time the E5 Bakehouse had taken one of the group on to its staff following the project.
Mackinnon told British Baker that the Goring Hotel in central London was considering lending its own facilities and offering pastry training from its chefs for a future project, although there were no immediate plans for one, as the Refugee Council was dealing with the current refugee crises.
E5 Bakehouse, based in a railway arch in the East End of London, is a retail and wholesale bakery and café, which delivers by bike to 50 customers around Hackney. It sells a rye loaf at £2.80 and a hand-rolled baguette at £2.60, while a large wholemeal sourdough is £5.