Social enterprise to open bakery in Nuneaton

A not-for-profit youth organisation is set to open a bakery in Nuneaton serving artisanal bread, cakes and pastries while giving young people the chance to acquire baking skills.

Positive Impact for Young People CIC (PIYP) has acquired a property for The Bakery on Harefield Road, Nuneaton in Warwickshire, which is set to open at the start of August.

“The bakery will be a place where young people can gain the skills, the accreditation and also the experience of working in a bakery,” founder of PIYP Craig Sweeney told British Baker. “Nuneaton doesn’t have its own independent bakery so we see a massive gap in the market.”

Having been kicked out of school at 14, Sweeney attended catering college after which he spent eight years as a baker and pastry chef. He left the industry six years ago and gained a degree in youth work, setting up PIYP last year.

He is currently looking to hire one full-time and one part-time baker to work alongside him in the kitchen, as well as front of house staff. However, the apprenticeships and training programmes won’t be available until next year as he wants to get the bakery running efficiently first.

“As a youth organisation – we’re a community interest company – our surplus will be reinvested back into young people within Nuneaton and Bedworth who are disengaged from employment, education and training from the ages of 11 to 24,” he added. “The benefits of this are very wide, it’s not just about the young people who will be working at the bakery.”

In order to get The Bakery up and running, the organisation has launched a crowdfunding campaign in which it is hoping to raise £10,000 for the purchase and instalment of furniture and fittings. This includes display counters for the bakery as well as tables for the kitchen.

As of 25 June, the Indiegogo project had raised £605 from a total of 11 backers. Investors become members of the investors’ club and, depending on the amount they donate, receive benefits such as lifetime discounts on items from The Bakery as well as a travel mug and an invitation to the opening. A £150 donation, for example, entitles the person to a 15% discount for life.

Sweeney said if the funding target isn’t reached, the organisation will have to look at more traditional finance options, such as a loan, for the remainder.

The Bakery concept has already been trialled, with a pop-up running one day a week for eight weeks at Stockingford Community Centre.

“We had people queuing out the door, they couldn’t get enough of the products” Sweeney added. “Our turnover was £4,000 just in that short time so we knew there was a real gap there. It was only run from a community centre that wasn’t in the centre of town. Our footfall at our new location is probably 2,000 to 3,000 people a day.”

Charity Prior’s Court School has similar plans for its area. The Berkshire-based organisation is planning to build a commercial bakery employing young people with severe autism.

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