Big River Bakery is a social enterprise developed from a series of community-led initiatives. Our work over the last 5 years has focused on building a sustainable and equitable food economy at a local level.
Last year we secured our own premises in Shieldfield (having been based in the area since 2016) rooting our social business firmly in one of the most deprived postcodes in Newcastle. Shieldfield is an area that has seen little investment in community facilities, and new developments do not look to serve the local community.
We run a key project as part of the community-led local development (CLLD) programme delivering an accredited employability programme in the area to unemployed. We are also part of the DWP Access To Work Programme, providing employment opportunities for local people with learning/physical disabilities. To achieve a far-reaching impact across the community we have developed collaborations with other local community groups and organisations including Caring Hands, Byker Community Trust, Forum Cafe, Shieldfield Artworks deliver services to the heart of the community. We have delivered two formal consultation sessions to local groups and individuals to ensure we understand the needs of the community.
Ongoing consultation is integral to our business model. This has led to providing space for local community activities - working with local schools and nurseries to deliver baking themed workshops - providing affordable bread and facilities - to make up and deliver COVID related emergency food parcels and activity packs to name but a few. We provide affordable and nutritious products locally through our cafe and shop. We are also registered with Fareshare and provide a weekly food parcel from our premises in response to local need.