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Social enterprise bakery volunteer opportunity

The Better Health Bakery in Hackney has re-opened its volunteer programme.

Bakers at work. Credit: © The Better Health Bakery

Bakers at work. Credit: © The Better Health Bakery

Run by the charity The Centre for Better Health, The Better Health Bakery works to produce high quality sourdough Real Bread, pastries and lunches, while providing training placements for people to improve their employment prospects as part of their recovery from mental ill health. 

The role

Volunteer bakers assist with making sourdough bread and pastries at the bakery near Haggerston station, as well as supporting trainees on placement. This includes:

  • General bread production: mixing, bench, and oven work
  • Collaborating with fellow bakers and trainees on placement to create a supportive learning environment
  • Supporting safe work practices and food preparation standards

Who is suitable for this voluntary role?

The Better Health Bakery says: “This is an interesting, fun and rewarding role for someone who is passionate about Real Bread and supporting good mental health in the local community.”

The following will be assessed during the application process and trial shifts:

  • Practical knowledge of bread making and baking with good attention to detail. The bakery team will be looking for a minimum of:
    • Awareness of food safety and hygiene principles
    • Being able to follow recipes and operate weighing scales
    • Basic shaping techniques
  • Methodical, calm and tidy approach to work
  • Good communication (including spoken English) and teamwork skills
  • Strong appreciation of customer service skills
  • A flexible and motivated team member
  • Proactivity and able to take on responsibility
  • Commitment to equality and diversity
  • Willingness to sensitively support and engage trainees in their learning (the trainee programme is currently on hold due to Covid19, but is set to return in the near future)

In return

Volunteers can benefit from:

  • In-house training in a professional bakery
  • An opportunity to develop your skills in sourdough and long fermentation techniques
  • An opportunity to support good mental health in the local community
  • Experience of commercial bakery operations and customer service/front of house

This is an unpaid, voluntary role. Lunch will be provided but the bakery will not reimburse any expenses.

Free microbakery handbook

For a limited time only the Real Bread Campaign are offering a copy of Knead to Know…more, their unique microbakery handbook, to selected Better Health Bakery trainees and volunteers who run (or are working towards setting up) their own bakery businesses. The selection will be made by the bakery team – please speak to them if interested.

This is being offered thanks to Knead to Know...more crowdfunders as part of the Real Bread Campaign's Friends in Knead pay-it-forward scheme. The aim is to help encourage and support a greater diversity (in all senses) of people to become Real Bread bakers.


The role requires a commitment of one day per week (Tuesdays or Thursdays) for three months. Roles can be extended beyond this point upon mutual agreement. Applicants should expect a mix of start times that closely mirror the bakery’s production schedule, which may include some early morning starts, though no evenings or night work.

The bakery requires volunteers to attend two trial days and to supply at least one employment and/or character reference. If these are completed successfully, upon mutual agreement the three-month placement will start shortly thereafter.

With assistance from Centre for Better Health, all volunteers will need to apply for a DBS Disclosure Certificate as part of their induction process.

How to apply

For further details and to apply, please email

About The Centre for Better Health

The Centre for Better Health is a community charity that supports wellbeing and recovery from mental ill health. Services include a low-cost integrative counselling service; the Better Health Hub, which offers movement, craft and therapeutic courses; and social enterprise (comprising Better Health Bikes, Better Health Bakery and Better Health Products), which offer 12-week training placements for people who have been distanced from work by mental ill health.

See also

Roots to Work for Real Bread (and other good food) employment and volunteering opportunities

Tell Boris no #ChildHealthUTurn

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Published 6 Jan 2022

Real Bread Campaign: The Real Bread Campaign finds and shares ways to make bread better for us, better for our communities and better for the planet. Whether your interest is local food, community-focussed small enterprises, honest labelling, therapeutic baking, or simply tasty toast, everyone is invited to become a Campaign supporter.

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