Purpose of investment
Develop and grow artisan bakery and provide employability training within HMP Low Moss.
Investment package: Start & Grow
Social outcomes: Citizenship and community
Whisking up a solution to reduce re-offending.
Freedom Bakery with its premises at HMP Low Moss in Glasgow, is no ordinary high street bakery. It aims to draw prisoners into the kitchen, develop their baking skills and help them prepare for a life on the outside. Freedom believes that the skills learned will make the prisoners more employable on their release and ultimately break the cycle of reoffending.
The bakery was supported with a £37.5K Start & Grow investment from Resilient Scotland, which was used to purchase vital equipment.
With the equipment in place, the team at Freedom Bakery has been working tirelessly to get the bakery fully operational, Freedom Bakery can’t switch on the ovens as the sun rises; their day starts much later, dictated to by the hours of the prison and the prisoners’ strict routines.
This restriction on the time spent in the bakery not only limited the production capability of the kitchen, but also required Freedom to develop new processes to accommodate the reduced hours.
Founder Matt Fountain is assisted by two trained bakers, who deal with all the day to day training within the prison, working with up to six trainees at any one time.
Since the first loaf of bread was produced, four prisoners have graduated from the bakery, and following release from prison two of these have gone on to find employment.
Matt’s job doesn’t end when the prisoner walks through the gates. He knows it’s important to maintain contact with them after their release and help them find employment or further training. One trainee said “I’ve got a real passion for baking now. I know if my mum and dad were still alive they would be very proud of me.”
Matt’s next goal is to establish Freedom 2 in Glasgow. This second bakery will help meet the demand for orders and will be able to offer employment to some of the prisoners on their release. The original bakery will continue to focus on training those serving a custodial sentence.
Commenting on the investment from Resilient Scotland Matt said, “Resilient Scotland has helped me create a stage to showcase Freedom. More importantly it has given me time. So many SME’s fail in the early days as they try to adapt their business model. The grant element of the investment has given me a grace period to make the necessary changes to our model and adapt to the environment in which we operate.”