10 years of making delicious bread

Bread Together is celebrating 10 years of bread making in Chester.

Over the past decade, Bread Together has made 18,000 loaves of bread at our popular community bread-making sessions and welcomed hundreds of bakers through the doors of the Wesley Church Centre. 

We also run a growing bread-to-sell business where we make and sell fresh bread in Chester, operating out of a professional kitchen at Canal Street Day Centre installed in November 2019. 

Sarah and Chris at the micro bakery.

All baking activities are currently on hold due to COVID-19, but plans are in place to start baking again and the aim is to sell products to markets around Chester, including a Christmas market. 

Kathleen attends regularly and said: “I suffer from anxiety and depression but, after baking, my self-esteem lifted off the floor. There were other people with difficulties and I thought that, if they can get up and make it out, so can I. I’ve met some people who always put a smile on my face.” 

A member of Bread Together for 10 years, John has been baking at home since the sessions have been on hold. He added: “It’s great fun and the best thing is when you see the look on people’s faces after the bread they’ve made comes out of the oven.” 

Our group has welcomed bakers from all over the UK and the rest of the world, including places as far as China, India, Spain and Poland. 

Bread Together works in partnership with Vivo Care Choices, which provides a range of flexible and responsive support for people with learning disabilities and autism and older people, including those with dementia. Services are delivered across west Cheshire.   

Philip Shone, Deputy Service Manager at Canal Street Day Centre, said: “Bread making provides a unique, all-inclusive sensory experience due to its visual, tactile and aural nature. The smell and taste of the bread is an experience also gratefully shared by others. There’s nothing better than the smell of freshly baked bread drifting through the building.” 

Mary Horbury, Baking Facilitator, added: “There’s nothing quite like bashing some dough while chatting around a table, sharing spontaneous creativity. For 10 years, the Wesley has provided an accepting, public and equal space for bread making. I love the way people who have gone into town with no plans for making bread discover themselves in the midst of a bread-making session, chatting to people they’ve never met, helping a baby stir some yeast or tasting some focaccia.” 

Our baking group has also held bread-making sessions at schools and community venues, as well as hosting private workshops for enthusiasts. 

Bread Together prides itself on providing an open, inclusive and fun space for people of any age to meet and make bread. Running alongside the community baking sessions, the micro bakery is a learning space where members make top-quality bread to sell.  

For further information about Bread Together, its baking sessions and micro bakery, please email Laura at: microbakery@breadtogether.org.uk or visit: breadtogether.org.uk. 

Surviving lockdown through a love of baking

Bread making in Chester

Bread makers at Bread Together, a Chester based bread co-operative, are finding that their love of baking is helping them cope in today’s uncertain times.

The bread co-operative has held popular community bread making sessions at the Wesley Centre for the past 10 years, as well as running a growing bread to sell business, but all their baking activities have been on hold since COVID-19 hit in March.

Consilia attends the community baking sessions with her brother Kevin, who has learning difficulties. The impact of COVID-19 has meant that a week full of activities for her brother has now stopped.

She said: “Baking during lockdown helped me stay sane and it gave me a structure. Lockdown was difficult for Kevin as all his activities ground to a halt, so we did a lot of walking to keep him active. Kevin used to have such a fantastic week of activities before COVID-19 so it’s been difficult for us all, but he’s been baking still in his flat.”

Bread Together works in partnership with Vivo Care Choices, which provides a range of flexible and responsive support for people with learning disabilities and autism and older people, including those with dementia. Services are delivered across west Cheshire.

A new, professional kitchen was installed at Vivo’s Canal Street Day Centre in November 2019 and plans are in place to start baking again soon, with the aim of selling products to markets around Chester.

People using services there, such as Sarah, have been enjoying baking sessions provided by Vivo at the Canal Street Centre over the last few months, making items such as cheese rolls.

Philip Shone, Deputy Service Manager at Canal Street Day Centre, said: “Bread making provides a unique, all-inclusive sensory experience due to its visual, tactile and aural nature. The smell and taste of the bread is an experience also gratefully shared by others. There’s nothing better than the smell of freshly baked bread drifting through the building.”

Philip added: “The partnership extends social contacts and friendships, increases engagement with the community and creates a feeling of belonging, leading to an increase in self-confidence and self-worth.”

Laura Beckett, Project Manager at Bread Together, said: “We really miss baking. Not just the act itself, but also the laughter and friendships that comes with it. Our sessions used to be drop in but it’s difficult with so many restrictions in place. We’ll soon be back at the micro bakery and hopefully selling products to markets and potentially shops.”

Bread Together prides itself on providing an open, inclusive and fun space for people of any age to meet and make bread. Running alongside the community baking sessions, the micro bakery is a learning space where members make top quality bread to sell.