Charity of the Month: Ace Of Clubs (Clapham)

More – than – Baking.

13 January

The Luminary Bakery.

Written by JeffH

Do you remember the first time you baked something, mixing in the flour and eggs and placing your concoction into the oven to then play the anxious waiting game? If you’re anything like us, the end result can only really be described as, well, catastrophic. However for the Luminary Bakery the story seems to be quite different.

The Luminary Bakery is a group that returns us to the joys of communal baking within the guiltiest of pleasures: baked goods. By hiring on apprentices, Luminary invests in women who are vulnerable to homelessness, prostitution, or domestic violence, and invest in them by teaching baking skills in a space filled with kindness, friendship and flour. We have learned so much from their team and wanted to brag a bit about our friends. So here is our discussion with their founder Alice Boyle and her insights into Social Enterprise.

How did you get started?

“Well it really began out of the Kahaila (café) where we really wondered what an effective way would be to help women who were coming in vulnerable to homelessness, prostitution, or sex slavery. We realised that offering employment and really investing in skills was a more sustainable way to help women. And because the café just needed cakes and sweets we thought that baking would always be a need.”

What are some things that have surprised you, working at Luminary?

“One of the hardest things I have seen is the transition from benefits into work. A lot of women, due to the current system, are being punished because of how the current system has the transition. “I’ve been surprised at how much we’ve learned from the women who have come on as our apprentices. They’re mums and women who have a lot of wisdom and have helped us organise in ways we weren’t… The other day after removing the cake tin one of our apprentices began to cry and say that she ‘couldn’t believe she made something so beautiful. It really is an honour to see how people get to come alive when they get to do creative work and holistic rehabilitation.”

To the person thinking of starting in social enterprise, what would you advise?

“Take a leap. I definitely took a leap and was really hesitant at first. But doing research and working hard let’s you see the work your doing and even learn from the people you’re working to help.”

“Practicality, I think is really important. You want to do research and really check to see whether or not what you want to do will actually help the people you’re trying to support… that was volunteering at different charities for me and just being able to meet people and hear their stories.

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