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Bread Bike: Great Hit in Bakery’s 5th Anniversary Year

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As we free-wheel towards Christmas, the Bread Bike initiative has proven a great hit in this momentous anniversary year for Planet Leicester Bakers.

Launched in the summer to mark the business’s fifth year of trading and community activity, the Bread Bike success represents all that is great about this community micro-business. Every fortnight new special bread treats and Surprise Bike Buns are baked in the micro-bakery in Thurmaston. They are then pedaled into Leicester City Centre to St Martin’s Square.

Bread Bike in action

The Bread Bike’s first week in action, offering Amalfi Lemon and Poppy Seed loaves

St Martin’s Square is the location for a number of reasons. This includes the ethos of many of the small businesses based there. Fair Trade, environmentally friendly no plastic wares and a fellow Slow Food supporter are natural bedfellows for Planet Leicester Bakers. (Read about the business’s core values here). The support of  business staff and owners has made it a wise and heart-warming choice as well. It is great to begin to feel a physical part of Leicester’s wonderful small and micro business community. Read More

Challenging Stigma and Judgement with Bread: ‘Sharing Bread+’ Launches in Leicester

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Sharing Bread+ is an exciting new community project from charity group Reaching People in partnership with Planet Leicester Bakers. Using bread to create safe space for debate, the project seeks to challenge stigma and judgement. It will encourage people to come together to find ways to strengthen relations and build togetherness within communities and also between each other.

Read more to see the full media release!

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Baking a Difference: A Grand Finale. And a Bread Bike!

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Delivery of the year long Baking a Difference project drew to a wonderful close at Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I College. Three young women and a staff member were invited to take part in bread making in the school kitchen. They absolutely loved it!

Project partners Learning for the Fourth Age are always keen to bring in new volunteers to the charity’s work. Giving the young women a taste of bread making was a good way to introduce them to the innovative approaches the charity adopts. Bread making with Planet Leicester Bakers also has the benefit of building confidence and encouraging enjoyment in real food. Comments from the young women certainly attested to that!

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Bunnies have been Baking a Difference

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Bunnies have been the order of the day for Care Home residents in the run up to Easter. Using a lovely French sweet dough from Bath-based baker Richard Bertinet, the residents have shaped balls of dough and dough ropes for outlines. The shape’s structure offers a lovely ‘sharing bread’ for all residents in the homes to enjoy.

bread shaped as a bunny

Care home residents have loved shaping and decorating bread for Easter

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Sharing Bread at the Patient Information Forum, London

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Attendees at the Patient Information Forum event last week warmly welcomed the concept of using bread to engage people around health.  The event, ‘Reaching and Engaging Hard to Reach Groups in the Provision of Health Information’, was a fascinating day of presentations from health communications professionals. The focus was particularly people and communities that are perhaps easier to ignore and I was delighted to be asked to attend and present with Jenny Hand, CEO of Reaching People.

Michelle presenting at the PIF health event

Presenting at the Patient Information Forum event, The Royal College of Anaesthetists, London. Photo credit: PIF

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‘Outstanding’: Funder’s Verdict on Latest Project

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Planet Leicester Bakers is delighted with the response of ‘outstanding’ from funders Time to Change Leicester to our latest community project. The idea for Leicester Bread Clubs was first promoted in edition 3 of Planet Leicester News in  2017. The project report (available as a PDF here) details the first Leicester Bread Clubs project, which has been developed and delivered in partnership with Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust.

The funders were delighted with the report as well, feeling that it was ‘incredibly comprehensive’ and ‘a great mix of statistics and stories that captured the impact the project has had for service users’. The media release gives a flavour of the success of the project: Read More

Building a Team’s Well-Being at the Windmill

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A service from Planet Leicester Bakers that is increasingly seeing inquiries is that for team building . Recently I was delighted to work with the large Nottingham employer, Capital One, and a team of their data analysts. We spent a rainy day up on the hill in Sneinton, making bread under the watchful sails of Green’s Windmill.

Despite the rain the Capital One team embraced every moment with the dough!

Green’s Windmill is a working windmill charity and have an education kitchen room on-site which is perfect for group bread baking. We were able to support the charity further by using their flour and, not only that, the venue included a tour of the windmill in the price. We made pizza dough and windmill volunteers baked the pizzas for lunch in the garden pizza oven.

The team worked well together in pairs of Bread Buddies and all received certificates and their bread to take away.

It is rare to find bread bakers in teams – which is part of the joy of offering this activity to build togetherness and well-being. It demands supporting each other and team members finding their way through a new and unfamiliar task, negotiating joint decisions. Everyone got to take away a recipe if they wished and left with new knowledge about this much-loved staple food.

” It was a very productive and well-organized event. We received a detailed nicely made plan/information beforehand. On the day, we got the opportunity to team up and learn new baking skills and taste the product made by ourselves. The choice of the venue is really good and special. We got the opportunity to have the pizza baked onsite and have had a nice tour of the historical place.” Capital One’s  organiser

The days are very much tailored to the needs of the team so the first step in booking is to get in touch and start to plan. Another team, this time from the NHS, is booked for September. Community venues can be suggested by Planet Leicester Bakers and if you are based in Nottingham, Green’s Windmill would be delighted to host us again!

The ‘Almost Award Winning’ Bakery of the 1/2 Year!

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It’s been a busy first half of the year with awards happening here and there.As you may have read in the previous post, Planet Leicester Bakers was shortlisted in the ‘Heart of Gold’ category at this year’s national Small Awards. The awards celebrate small businesses and this category was recognising services to the community.

It was a lovely evening at Mary’s Church, Marylebone, London. With a three course meal and plenty of refreshment! We weren’t in luck with the award, which went to Bee Naturals, but I thoroughly enjoyed meeting up with fellow Fulham Bread Angel Liz (aka Ma Baker) and making plenty of connections.

A lovely setting for the Small Awards in Marylebone

A few weeks earlier in April Planet Leicester Bakers also missed out in the national Small Food Award bread category. (You may be aware we picked up a top 3 place in the Viennoiserie category in 2016).

This time the Amalfi Lemon and Poppyseed loaf came 4th – which was brilliant. All three top places went to Bread Angels, which in itself reflects the quality of bread baker the network is home to.

4th place in the Small Food Awards: Amalfi Lemon & Poppyseed

The Small Awards: Thrilled to be shortlisted for a business award!

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Planet Leicester Bakers is delighted to have been shortlisted in the Heart of Gold category at this year’s national business Small Awards . This category recognises the contribution the business has and is making to the local Leicester/shire community. It is also a testament to all those who have shown such passion and belief in the business and what it is seeking to achieve over the first few years.

The awards dinner is this Thursday in London. It’ll be a wonderful event and I’m looking forward to seeing fellow fabulous Bread Angel Liz Wilson (aka Ma Baker) who has been shortlisted in the sole trader business category. Keep an eye out on social media for news!