Demonstrating resilience via a clear vision and drive towards strategic leadership, allowing for further business development and growth
Freedom Bakery is an innovative social enterprise which began as a bakery project to support prisoners to learn employment skills within HMP Low Moss Prison. In 2017 Freedom 2 opened with the aim of providing training for apprentices and short-term employment opportunities for ex-offenders during the vulnerable period after they leave prison. The bakery is keen to provide high quality artisan products and the business is popular with high levels of demand.
Why was the grant needed?
1. Supporting the training of apprentices to achieve tangible qualifications
Freedom Bakery is keen to make a real difference to its graduates and wants to provide sustainable employment opportunities. By supporting its apprentices to achieve the SVQ 2 award in Craft Bakeries it is committed to ensuring long term employment opportunities and therefore reduce re-offending rates.
2. Employing a part time support worker to help with graduate employability
Employing ex-offenders requires additional mentoring and support over and above what would normally be found in a commercial environment. Therefore there would be a twofold benefit of creating a specific employability role. Firstly offenders would receive a greater level of support which would increase their chances of finding employment after moving on from the bakery. Secondly it would free up the Managing Director allowing him to spend more time on ensuring that the long term strategy and business objectives can be achieved.
3 To contribute to the Managing Director’s salary allowing him to spend more time on strategic growth
A key objective for the Managing director is to develop the business plan for the project to allow it to work towards financial sustainability and to be replicated across the UK. There is also a requirement to spend time drawing investment into the establishment.
Key achievements following the grant
The grant has allowed Freedom Bakery to achieve a number of benefits by increasing employment opportunities, reducing re-offending rate and the promotion of healthy eating in the local community. Some of the key achievements noted are:
- The creation of additional employment opportunities. The grant has allowed Freedom Bakery to create 3 paid posts and to deliver 8 artisan bakery trainee posts with subsequent plans to increase this to 16 posts
- Placing 75% of Freedom Bakery trainees into paid employment within 6 months of their release
- A tangible reduction in reoffending rates of bakery trainees
- The café has successfully helped to promote healthy eating of real food both by supplying real bread to venues across central Scotland and helping prisoners with healthy cooking skills
- Wholesale figures have increased as has weekly turnover and the desired goal is on track by the end of the 2019 financial year
Additional benefits from the grant
As well as increasing the employment opportunities for offenders and helping with the strategic growth of the enterprise, Freedom Bakery is currently looking at ways to expand into another trade. Diversification will help to build the resilience of the enterprise and will increase training and employment opportunities. A second round of apprenticeship courses at HMP Polmont is also being planned.