It’s been a tense 12 months since The Great British Bake Off ended its tenure on the BBC. Due to an absence of royal events (weddings, babies, jubilees etc.) and Big Ben losing its chimes for the foreseeable future, the nation has been struggling to find something to make us feel truly, discernibly British.
So welcome back GBBO! It may have migrated to Channel 4 but the ingredients are all present and correct. While TV’s Bake Off may be great, here are some really great ways people are using food for good. Across the country, social enterprises are rising up to the challenge, whipping up creative ways to use baking to do good. This is as guilt-free a way to stuff your face as is possible…
People who have experienced homelessness become trainee bakers at Rise Bakery, where they spend 10 weeks learning a wide range of techniques. The social enterprise, part of Providence Row, a charity helping homeless people in east London to build confidence and skills, aims to increase employability – in or out of the food industry. Graduates from the team fulfill orders for
Rise Bakery’s customers. Try the delicious white chocolate and raspberry brownies.
We have muffin bad to say about Blackburne House – the 18th-century listed building is both a beautiful venue and a leading social enterprise. As well as being the setting for glamorous weddings, Blackburne House, which received £80,000 of investment from Big Issue Invest, has been committed to making life better for the women of Liverpool for the past 25 years. It provides education, training and enterprise opportunities in order to allow individuals and organisations to have a positive impact on the local economy. Its bistro-style cafe has risen to the task of providing fantastic food and service with local ingredients and also features exhibitions by local female artists.
The Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency has been helping those in knead in south-east London, with its commitment to healthy and sustainable eating. The GCDA, who received £40,000 of investment from Big Issue Invest, has been mixing up the foodie scene by developing co-op style enterprises, delivering training programmes and creating community hubs that include state-of-the-tart production and training kitchens. At the heart of all its work is its commitment to improving health, enterprise and the environment as well as the desire to make life a little sweeter.
A cafe in Brixton has mixed in its love of fresh, vegan food with a commitment to helping end food poverty in the local area. The social enterprise, which received £20,000 of investment from Big Issue Invest, reinvests its profits back into projects that spoon out education to local children – inviting them to learn about food nutrition and taking ownership of the green spaces within their school grounds. Cafe Van Gogh has also partnered with neighbouring special needs schools, giving pupils a flavour of working life by offering them front-of-house roles to help build skills and confidence. This summer, the cafe itself went 100 per cent vegan – a big whisk, for sure, but the reviews have been glowing.