Real Bread Company On the Rise

28 October 2015

The Real Bread Company setup by Pontefract Family Centre has opened a brand new Café on Gillygate.  The new café will take bread from the now established bakery and make it available to the hungry people of Pontefract. The café will also take orders for bread from the bakery, to provide high quality ‘real bread’ to local businesses and organisations.

The Pontefract Family Centre has been in operation since 1983, supporting adults with learning disabilities across the district. The Real Bread Company provides jobs and experience for service users who would not necessarily find employment elsewhere.  Launched as a social enterprise this expands the work the centre is able to do with adults with learning disabilities.

The vision for the company came from John Hughes the Centre Manager.

"Four years ago I had my first loaf of real artisan bread and realised what a high quality product this was compared to the bread I had been used to. I knew we would have a lot of interest from our service users if we looked to setup a bakery so I took that opportunity and started to look into what the centre could offer. I began to look at options and with help from the Big Lottery Fund we were awarded an £8,880 grant to carry out a feasibility study."

The result was the development of the Real Bread Company with £30K being put in from the Centre itself, finding the other finance needed looked like it could be a real challenge.

John explained;

"I exhausted most of the grant applications out there and thought we might have hit a sticking point.  After contacting Barclays Bank they agreed to lend us £80K which meant that the project could become a reality We also received both support, advice and funding from the Wakefield Business Support Programme."

The Wakefield Business Support Programme provided guidance and assistance through a business advisor who supported John in applying for a grant of £1845 for a proving oven, allowing it to make the quantities of bread needed to sustain a café. The support programme had a specific remit to create jobs, support social enterprises and help to increase the districts GVA.

The brand new café on Gillygate Pontefract has created 10 part time jobs for the family centre’s users as well as a full time position for the café manager. A further 10 part time jobs were created in the bakery itself, providing a fantastic opportunity for many of the Centre’s service users.

John is already taking orders and believes that they have done everything to make the new venture both a great success for their customers but also for the staff all of whom have not previously been employed.

‘We have an order for 300 loaves from the local Golf club and a range of savoury and sweet dishes ready to entice local shoppers.  Before the grand opening we will have some of our breads on a market stall so people can sample some of the great products available before making the café their regular spot for great bread, breakfast, lunch and our signature pontefract cake.’