Through your fundraising efforts the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation donated nearly £10,000 to fund vital bakery and kitchen equipment for Prior’s Court’s, state of the art, Bread & Beyond bakery. The UK’s first commercial bakery for people with severe autism. The launch of this innovative bakery was on the 25 January, where the great work of the students were showcased and all the organisations that supported the funding of the bakery.
Sam Scott, Stop Hunger Trustee and Senior Brands and Communication Manager, explores how our funding has helped to improve the quality of lives of those with autism through baking;
Prior’s Court is a Newbury based charity offering residential care and education for children and young adults aged 5 – 25 years old affected by autism.
As a local charity to me, I was keen to find out more about it how an organisation like Sodexo is making a difference to the complex needs of the young people with severe autism living there.
Our donation of nearly £10,000 is being used to fund vital bakery and kitchen equipment for Prior’s Court’s, state of the art, Bread & Beyond bakery. It’s the UK’s first commercial bakery for people with severe autism. Sounds impressive but one of the questions I had was how does a bakery improve the quality of life for people living with autism?
Baking suits the strength and skills of people with autism because it’s highly process driven, practical, and can be broken down in to smaller tasks. Then there’s the added bonus of creating a delicious product that you can be proud of.
Teaching young people to bake bread combined with Prior’s Court’s ambition to help young people with autism enter the world of work and achieve extraordinary things is a perfect match. For anyone looking for a job, skills and experience are important, so Bread & Beyond was built to provide work skills training by teaching young people to make amazing bread. The initiative provides meaningful work experience, food preparation and handling skills development and increases the prospects of finding real jobs for young people with severe autism, opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t be available.
The business model is impressive too. Not only does the bakery provide bread products for the site, it also supplies local businesses. Sales from Bread & Beyond will be ploughed back into the initiative, enabling the work with young people to continue in the future. The aspiration is for it to be self-funding within 5 years.
And it’s not just about learning to bake. There are opportunities for young people to assist with deliveries to the various buildings on the premises, the chance to gain retail experience in the on-site shop that sell the bread, plus a chance to teach students about nutrition and well-being. It also potentially offers support to young people attending the school who experience significant food issues, so it’s an initiative with a wide reaching impact for the community.
For Sodexo, an organisation with a strong culinary heritage and a mission to enhance the quality of life of the communities we serve, our grant to Prior’s Court is a fantastic way to support an organisation in a meaningful, sustainable and relevant way. Learning these life skills and gaining culinary experience could be life changing in providing opportunities to entering the world of work. It’s a perfect partnership.
Learn more about Priors Court- https://www.priorscourt.org.uk/