The new chairman of the British Society of Baking (BSB) has issued a rallying call for new members at the organisation’s autumn conference saying the organisation needs to “reposition itself”.

At the event at the Ardencote Manor Hotel, Mike Bagshaw, who replaced outgoing chair Sara Autton and echoed her earlier call for each member to enlist a new member before the next conference, called on the BSB to do more work for youngsters in bakery.

He told delegates: “We need more members. We need more people at conference and we need to find a way of getting news funds.”

However, he added that because of the popularity of baking, thanks to shows like The Great British Bake Off, there had never been a better time to enlist people to the industry.

“People are really understanding that it is a craft. You [home bakers] can make cake, but to make really good product takes skill,” added Bagshaw.

“We need to reposition the BSB. There is a saying that if you do not know who you are, then how can anyone else?”

As part of the BSB’s ongoing commitment to training and youth the organisation has set aside a £25,000 fund, which it is willing to donate to bakery colleges.

The BSB is also gearing up for a big year in 2015 when it celebrates its 60th anniversary next October; it is holding a spring conference at Campden BRI in April and holds its 25th annual gold day next June.

The autumn conference, which was held at the Ardencote Manor Hotel in Warwickshire, saw presentations by Chris Brockman, research manager for EMEA region at Mintel; Baking Industry Award (BIA) winner Dean Arbel, managing director of The Bread Factory; and Greg Woodhead, NPD manager at British Bakels.