News / Real Bread Campaign

Baking Bedlam

On Friday 10 March 2017, the Real Bread Campaign joined forces with Gaye Whitwam of Sticky Mitts Bakery to run a baking workshop for Occupational Therapy staff at Bethlem Royal Hospital in north Kent.

The class was part of Together We Rise, the Campaign’s initiative to help more people enjoy the therapeutic and social benefits of Real Bread making

It was run in collaboration with the Occupational Therapy (OT) department at the hospital, once known as ‘Bedlam’, perhaps the oldest psychiatric hospital in the world. The class was led by Campaign supporter, and Bread Angel, Gaye Whitwam of Sticky Mitts Bakery, with the help of deputy head of OT, Jenny Shaieb.

Thanks to the support of Jenny, Gaye and departmental head, Peter O’Hare, this class will be followed in April and May by a series of six, hands-on baking workshops for a small group of service users resident at the hospital.

As the Campaign reported in 2013’s Rising Up, there are many fantastic bread making enterprises and initiatives being run for the benefit of people facing a range of challenges, from living with learning disabilities, to ex-offenders preparing for a new life on the straight and narrow. Whether due to lack of time, funds or perceived need, while many of those involved in such schemes reported that they observed, or simply knew, what they were doing was beneficial, their valuable work is going largely unrecorded.

In light of this, the Together We Rise initiative is designed to:

  • create guidance and training for other health care professionals, supportive organisations and Real Bread bakers wishing to run similar initiatives
  • add to the evidence and knowledge about therapeutic and social baking schemes, not only to encourage more to follow suit, but also to help them secure funding
  • ultimately pave the way for doctors being able to point some patients towards Real Bread baking classes, run by community enterprises, on ‘social prescription’ – or even commission these services - alongside (or perhaps instead of) medication and more established forms of therapy

See photos from the Bethlem OT staff workshop

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Published 23 Mar 2017

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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