A Knowle West bakery which works with young adults with learning disabilities is the only group in Bristol to be in the running to win £50,000 of National Lottery Funding as part of The People’s Projects.
Step and Stone Able Bakers is based at The Park in Daventry Road and teaches up to 25 of these young people the skills they need to get into work – as well as providing the chance to socialise.
The social enterprise was started by Jane Chong and Jane Kippax, who both have a child with Downs Syndrome, to help “raise perceptions” about people with learning disabilities.
They moved to Knowle West from Long Ashton Community Centre in September last year – where they had started to produce and sell lavosh – a Middle Eastern type cracker – from May 2017.
The aim of the business is to work with the young trainees to help them build skills and make friends.
Jane Chong explains: “They are a high quality product – so it’s raising perceptions of what our young people can do.
“Only 6 per cent of adults with learning disabilities are in paid employment and education now is much more inclusive and offering more opportunities but it is different when it comes to getting a job. Trainees stay with us as long as they need – and two have found paid employment…”
Jane Kippax adds: “We bridge that gap by providing bespoke support to people – college is fabulous but there’s an end date…”
Step and Stone has quickly made a name for itself – and has won a string of awards, including three from Taste of the West for the rosemary and seasalt lavosh. Their products are sold across Bristol including at Windmill Hill City Farm Cafe, Better Food Company and Chandos Deli.
The bakery currently runs Wednesdays to Fridays – but if they won the funding it would enable the project to open five days a week and be able to take on up to 60 trainees.
They would also be able to run more social events as an important aspect of their work is not only to offer the baking skills but to also help tackle isolation for the young people.
The students who learn how to make the lavosh from start to finish gain a new found confidence and pride in their work and enjoy the communal aspect of working together..
Grace (24) who joined in September says “I come here twice a week, I like rolling the dough and making flatbreads – and I’ve learnt to work on my own.”
Voting runs until Monday 15 April. Visit www.thepeoplesprojects.org.uk and find the Able Bakers project under the region West Country East.
To view the film go to https://www.thepeoplesprojects.org.uk/projects/view/able-bakers
For more information about Step and Stone Able Baker visit www.stepandstone.co or follow on Facebook stepandstone.co ,Twitter @BristolStep or Instagram step_and_stone_lavosh