Luminary Bakery, a social enterprise helping women who are homeless, victims of domestic violence, recently released from prison or involved with the sex trade, have announced plans to expand, and open an onsite café in Stoke Newington, London this spring.
The project started life in the Kahaila Café on Brick Lane, and gained its own site in 2016 with the help of a donation from the London Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund. With a training scheme already in place alongside a wholesale bakery supplying produce to restaurants, cafés and bars, the retail café is a welcome addition.
During Luminary Bakery’s six month training programme, most women go from having no baking experience to acquiring the capabilities needed to get a job. ‘It’s not just baking skills,’ said the project’s co-founder Alice Boyle in an interview with The Independent. ‘We also help them learn life skills like how to manage money, how to manage their emotions and how to get on well with colleagues.’
‘If you put us with the rest of the people applying for a job, we’re not going to get there because we don’t have that confidence, we haven’t worked for a while,’ added Luminary graduate Tina. “If there were more places like this that help you up, we’d get more people into work.”
Tina has now returned to the bakery as a teacher, and the hope is for everyone who graduates to find work, whether in baking or another field. “What we’re doing is helping a few people well, so they’re completely supported,” says Boyle. “What’s really exciting is to see them help others.”
As for the future, “Maybe one day I’ll be wealthy and I can make Luminary Bakeries everywhere,” says Tina.
Words: Ellen White
You can donate to Luminary Bakery here.