Prison bakery trying to raise enough dough to open on the outside

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Social enterprise ​Freedom Bakery based inside HMP Low Moss wants to open a second bakery in Glasgow - but this time on the outisde

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12th April 2016 by Paul Cardwell 0 Comments

A social enterprise bakery based in a prison near Glasgow has launched a crowdfunding campaign to expand to a second bakery – on the outside of the prison walls.

Freedom Bakery trains inmates at HMP Low Moss in artisan baking with the intention of helping them find a job once they are released. It currently offers customers across the city a range of breads and pastries.

However, now founder Matt Fountain wants to open a second bakery in a city-centre location in order to meet growing demand.

Despite working with prisoners the bakery receives no public funding and Fountain is trying to raise £15,000 on crowdfunding website crowdfunder.co.uk and is already a third of the way there.

If successful Freedom Bakery plans to take on wholesale orders for cafés, restaurants and shops and open a small publicly accessible shop if there is space .

Prison bakery trying to raise enough dough to open on the outsideMatt Fountain

We work with people who would otherwise have little or no opportunities in life, using their incarceration as an opportunity

Freedom 2 will offer artisan baking classes to the general public, but importantly will provide prisoners with community placements, work on day release and extra job opportunities on their release.

“Demand is growing enormously, which is fantastic,” Fountain said.

“However based solely inside the prison we are beginning to find capacity is limited. 

“Most bakeries can delivery early in the morning, we can only deliver after 12 o’ clock. Most bakeries have a 20 hour working day, we only have eight hours to play with. Most bakeries are easily visited by customers, we are not.

“We want to change all this so that we can grow as a business and our apprentices can grow as bakers and as people.

“We want to expand to fulfil customer demand and in turn allow the whole programme and our people to thrive! We want to take Freedom Bakery to the next step.”

Fountain launched Freedom Bakery in 2014 and was one of 15 social entrepreneurs selected to take part in a Commonwealth Games Legacy programme launched by social enterprise support agency Firstport.

He was given a £2,014 grant and expert business mentoring support which allowed him to employ and train recently released offenders in his own kitchen before partnering up with HMP Low Moss to expand the bakery to work with current offenders.

Freedom Bakery now has two full-time bakers training and working with six apprentices, five-days a week, from 8am-4pm.

“We work with people who would otherwise have little or no opportunities in life, using their incarceration as an opportunity to allow the discovery of themselves as confident, valuable members of society as well as confident baking and catering professionals,” Fountain added.

“Graduates attain an SVQ 2 in Craft Bakery, instantly increasing their employability factor with an industry-recognised qualification. Sustainable employment has been shown to decrease reoffending dramatically.

“For every ex-offender who can stay in employment the Scottish taxpayer is saved £940,000.

“The genuine demand for what we produce is evidence of the skills, talents and the value of the people behind the baking, their aspirations and their worth once rehabilitated back into society.”