Fresh bread, fresh start

In 2016, Marika Chaplais reported on the launch of a new charity built around people and bread.

A trainee in 2020. Photo © Breadwinners

A trainee in 2020. Photo © Breadwinners

With Real Bread at its heart, Breadwinners provides a sustainable business model for aspiring entrepreneurs struggling with employment. Working with the very best London bakeries, the charity arms its Breadwinners with the microfinance, training, contacts, equipment and support they need to set up and power their own business– delivering delicious, Real Bread to their local communities by bicycle.

The Breadwinners

The charity’s Breadwinners come from a variety of backgrounds. They might be young unemployed, ex-offenders; formerly homeless, or refugees struggling to find work. Each needs a fresh start and is passionate about starting their own businesses. Breadwinners attend a month-long training programme covering all aspects of running a business, from how to manage finances to food health and safety. They are then paired with a partner bakery, given a microloan for their bike and trailer, and are provided with marketing materials and a dedicated business mentor.

Breadwinners buy their loaves at cost price from their partner bakery and sell to customers for a profit. The cost price paid to the bakery includes ingredients, packaging and a percentage towards overheads and labour, so that partner bakeries are able to have a huge impact, without a cost to their businesses.  

The bread delivery

Customers log onto the Breadwinners website and enter their postcode to be paired with their local Breadwinner. A selection of bread and pastries can be ordered, either as a one off, or regular subscription. Breadwinners collect orders the morning they are baked, and deliver to customers’ doors fresh by bicycle.

With no minimum order and no delivery fee, customers order fresh, beautiful bread, delivered at a time convenient to them, safe in the knowledge that it’s the best quality and every penny of profit is powering a Breadwinner.

The bakeries

Central to Breadwinners is the promotion of exceptional quality Real Bread, made locally and delivered with minimum food miles. Championed by Shipton Mill, who believe in Breadwinners’ mission to pair the highest quality ingredients with social change right from the start, the initiative’s first partner bakeries are GAIL’s* and Real Bread Campaign supporters Celtic Bakers. The charity is looking to establish more partnerships with bakeries across London as it grows.

*We don't know if everything this company makes is what we call Real Bread. ed.

Since this was first published, Breadwinners has evolved, changing its focus to support refugees and asylum seekers, as well as the training it provides. We will be publishing an update on this story in 2021. Be first to know when we do by joining the Real Bread Campaign.


Originally published in True Loaf magazine issue 28, July 2016. Published here to co-incide with Breadwinners being named Super Social Enterprise by the Urban Food Awards 2020


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