A bread-making group that began in Simon Cobb’s kitchen will now open its own bakery in Poet’s Corner, and has launched a £20,000 crowdfunding campaign to kit it out.
Stoneham Bakehouse, a community interest company (CIC), was the brainchild of former teacher and Hove resident Mr Cobb, when he was signed off work with stress.
He never returned to his nine-to-five job, and instead started up a community baking group. Two years later, the group has 20 regular volunteers, and bakes bread to order in Hove. Stoneham Bakehouse also runs a range of community workshops in the city - whether it’s with children, older people or for wellbeing.
With things going from strength to strength, the group will now open a bread shop on Stoneham Road - next to the old Clark’s Bakery.
“We will be open three days a week,” Mr Cobb said. “It will continue to be based around what we have been doing previously. We won’t bake to order as we did before but we will back as a shop. We will still be volunteer bakers and we will still be going out and into the community.”
He said he will continue to run workshops in the community - but now the bakehouse will benefit from its own base. The bakery will also continue to focus on wellbeing.
“There are a lot of people out there who are depressed, anxious, or stressed,” said Mr Cobb. “But with bread-making, it is about the process. Good quality bread is good for your health, and baking bread is quite an active thing. And just rolling it out is therapeutic.”
Mr Cobb also wants to use the bakery to help people build their confidence and get back into work by offering placements.
“I am really conscious as a mental health sufferer that it is quite hard to get back into the workplace,” he said.
After taking on the building in Stoneham Road, now the group have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise £30,000 for baking equipment.
“We have got the shell,” said Mr Cobb. “What we need is the stuff to kit it out. That is the expensive stuff like the ovens and mixers and a fridge, etc.”
The campaign launched on Wednesday and will run for a few weeks’. Mr Cobb said he opens to open the bakery by Easter.
Just over a year ago, Mr Cobb said: “We want to open a bakery, so people know the person who has made their bread. People are buying the bread but that’s not all they are buying - they are buying into their community.”
And now it looks like his dream is finally coming true.
To find out more about the crowdfunding campaign, visit: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/stonehambakehouse