Companions Real Bread on Mill Street Bedford has announced it will be taking over Delices bakery on Lurke Street from mid-January 2019.
At a special event today, where the bakery also received a cheque of £1,1161 from Bedford’s Salvation Army, founder Maggie Rich spoke of her excitement at moving to the new premises and also inheriting the specialist baking equipment from Delices.
Companions Real Bread was set up almost two years ago to provide employment and work experience for prison leavers to help with their reform and recovery.
Since opening they’ve helped around 25% of the prison leavers who’ve worked with them find some form of paid employment.
Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the volunteers and those ex-prisoners, and the fantastic bread it produces, it has grown in popularity.
It currently provides standard and sourdough breads to Longholme Cafe, Vanilla Tree and Mill Yard Cafe in Bedford and OSO Coffee in Cranfield, as well as selling bread and other baked goods from its shop.
The team also host bread making workshops for any one looking to learn how to make different varieties of bread or improve their baking skills.
Speaking to the Bedford Independent, Maggie said: “Moving to the Lurke Street site, situated in the Art Centre & Gallery, will mean we can hopefully quadruple our productivity, attract more customers and help more people.
A few weeks ago, Simon Gillett invited Companions to move their bakery into his premises when the French bakery, Delices, ceases to operate at the end of this month. Companions will rent the fully-equipped bakery and the café in front will be renamed The Gallery and offer the bakery’s sourdough bread and other goods, and also a new menu of food and coffee.
Simon said, “I have been in the hospitality industry in London for 10 years managing national stores and when this opportunity arose I had no hesitation in involving myself in such an exciting new venture.”
The Art Centre, who have occupied the premises at 7, Howard Street since 1996, are delighted to welcome Companions & The Gallery to the site which will offer an exciting new destination to shop and eat.
The move is planned for the middle of January. ‘It’s all happened very quickly,’ said Maggie, ‘and we’re not sure yet quite how things will go. But we’ll keep the interruption to our customers’ bread supply as short as possible – we know how much they love our sourdough!’
The bakery is open from 09:30 every Monday to Saturday. This weekend it will be open right through until Christmas Eve.