News of changes in the business!

By August 27, 2020news

Time for news of changes in the business! Various technical changes have happened with the website recently but ongoing site problems mean editing is currently suspended.

So, what will you see when we have the solution and can edit again? A number of changes have taken place over the past few months. Plans for the year have been set aside as COVID-19 has had a serious impact on training and community project opportunities. Also, even before the ‘lock-down’ was introduced in England, the Bread Bike service in St Martin’s Square was suspended by Planet Leicester Bakers because of safety concerns. All public speaking engagements have been cancelled for the rest of the year. No training or community projects are in the diary.

Images from the WI talk at Hinckley Canalside

The last WI talk and demonstration before COVID-19 ‘lock-down’ was a great success at Hinckley Canalside

Moving forward…

So, this is a time of significant change and the business needs to find ways to adapt, or, as they say, die. There is no doubt that the past few months have presented real challenges for me as the business founder. Six years of hard work is not something I want to give up on lightly. But the economic climate, coupled with the safety issues of running what is a very people centred business, present huge challenges for me. So, at present, here is where we are with changes in the business:

The Bread Bike – big changes

The Bread Bike with bread for delivery on the front rack

The new Bread Bike delivery service is steadily growing, combining the original bake to order service with the bike!

Discussions had been happening with the Just Fair Trade shop in St Martin’s Square. We were about to start a new order and collect bread service when the extended Leicester restrictions were announced. Since then it has become apparent that there is much reduced space in the square due to cafes, understandably, using the area for outside seating. Safety is also an ongoing concern. I do not therefore envisage a return to selling from the bike there anytime soon, if ever.

But I am delighted to find a new delivery service on a specific route through town is proving popular. Every Friday I am baking for a small number of customers (though increasing week on week). Deliveries are made in the city by bike from 4pm. If you are on the route (Belgrave – New Walk – Cultural Quarter – London Rd – Clarendon Park) and would like to join the service then contact me.

Training, community projects and changes via online projects

Face to face training is at a complete halt, but this is not permanent. In the meantime, having dipped my toe into videoing and Zoom during lock-down (see the YouTube channel for a fun project fermenting raisins) I’m keen to develop ideas further. I’m also in touch with community centres who will hopefully be keen to bring in bread making sessions once they have got over the hurdle of reopening safely.

Planet Leicester Bakers is now part of the Bread Collective – a small group of like-minded women bakers. The collective have supported each other via social media and WhatsApp over the difficult past few months, which has been really good for keeping up morale. We are keen to help home bakers in particular – new and not so new – by offering advice and support. Therefore we are running monthly ‘Bread Chats’ on Zoom. The first was great – on yeast – and next week (2 September) we’ll be taking questions on sourdough starter (tickets here). If you would like to join my mailing list where you will regularly get the link for tickets, drop me a line.

Details about the next Bread Chat from the Bread Collective

‘Bread Chats’ are aimed at anyone wanting to chat to experienced professional bread bakers and pose their burning questions!

Public speaking/events

I have a couple of commitments from cancelled public speaking organisers to re-book in 2021. This is again something I am keen to keep going so enquiries are very welcome.

Other developments

Several things are on the boil with a view to developing the business in new ways. Or extending what exists further. It feels almost like rebuilding the business with the changes that are underway or required. This is no bad thing I’m coming to realise. After six years it can be an opportunity to take the business in new directions and to enjoy the challenge of developing new ideas. Do follow on social media or ask to join the news mailing list. I hope you will like what you see!