Luminary Bakery: empowering marginalised women in East London
Luminary Bakery are on a mission to provide as many women as possible in East London with the opportunity to leave their vulnerable situations and be released into a positive future. Using baking as a tool, they work with women to teach them employability and entrepreneurial skills that can be transferred into real life.
As a fellow social enterprise empowering and enriching the lives of women, we were delighted to speak to the founder Alice Boyle to find out more about them and how we can support them by buying their bread and taking part in their workshops.
Tell us about Luminary Bakery - what is the social impact?
Luminary Bakery is an innovative response to a need we saw for vulnerable women who've experienced social and economic disadvantage. We are a social enterprise designed to offer opportunities for women to build a future for themselves and their families. Through our bakery, we provide a safe and professional environment where women can grow holistically – encouraging ambition, restoration and second chances. We use baking as a tool to take women on a journey to employability and entrepreneurship, equipping them with practical and transferable skills for the working world.
We offer courses, work experience and paid employment within our bakery, empowering women to build a career and a positive future. By investing in them to realise their dreams through training, employment and community, we aim to break the generational cycles of abuse, prostitution, criminal activity and poverty, which currently hold these women back from reaching their potential.
What inspired you to start it?
We were inspired to start by meeting women living in poverty who had a huge amount of potential - we wanted to provide them with opportunities to thrive.
Starting your own business is hard work, what have been your greatest achievements and obstacles?
There are many obstacles when starting/running something like this! The biggest challenge is always funding. We provide so much more than a business would so trying to get all the other aspects of our work funded and growing the business itself is difficult with limited finances. But that has meant we've got really creative and is a good lesson we can share with the entrepreneurial women we support who are starting with nothing. One of our first trainees graduated in March 2015 and went on to take up an apprentice position in the bakery. She is a talented and hardworking woman who has been such a brilliant part of the team - she developed one of our seasonal products which turned out to be one of our best sellers! She also participated in our Enterprise course to think through her business idea and how to get it launched. She’s now working on plans to launch her business which I have no doubt will be incredibly successful. It has been amazing to see her grow in confidence and start to see her dreams become a reality.
You do bakery classes, courses and workshops – can anyone take part?
Yes! Our employability training courses are for women with specific life experiences, those who have been affected by homelessness, sexual exploitation, domestic abuse and/or criminal activity. However, we also run baking classes for the public. We have a Valentines class and half term parent and child class coming up, along with bread making and seasonal baking masterclasses.
Where can we get our hands on your delicious bakes?
We currently stock Kahaila's cafes, Look Mum No Hands, Close Up Cinema, Husk Cafe, Fresh Ground Clapham, TOMS cafe and we're doing a bake sale at our own premises (71-73 Allen Road, N16 8RY) on Saturday 4th March if you want to come to us directly! So lots of opportunities to try our baked goods for yourself.
Find out more about Luminary Bakery and to book onto their Valentine's Day Baking Masterclass Workshop, head over to their website.