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Flour Power helps vulnerable veterans

A Harrogate company that specialises in fundraising and PR for charities and not for profit organisations has launched a specialist training bakery designed to give vulnerable ex-servicemen new employment skills to make a fresh start in life. CAUSE UK officially opened the bakery today with celebrity chef, Rosemary Shrager.

The bakery, based at Riverside-ECHG’s new housing and training centre, The Beacon, which is situated next to Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire, will not only help Veterans develop employable skills within the baking and catering industries, but also uses bread-making as therapy for the men and women who will be learning skills there.

The bakery has been set up as a social enterprise by Clervaux Trust and Riverside ECHG and will provide accredited qualifications to equip those suffering from post-traumatic stress or vulnerable to homelessness with new career skills and insight into running a business.

Chef Rosemary Shrager said:

I’m passionate when it comes to teaching about food and so it is such an honour to launch an initiative in an environment where artisan baking may not be the first thing people think of when they think of the military. It shows how something as simple but valuable as baking can transform vulnerable lives. Our ex-servicemen and women who are struggling with mental or physical disadvantages as a result of serving their country deserve this opportunity. The alternative is wasted lives at risk of abusive behaviour or a desperate life on the streets. We owe them so much more. This is such an enriching way to create hope and new life outside of the military. The simple pleasure of baking is a fulfilling activity that really connects you to a sense of achievement. It’s about taking the time and developing practical skills with our hands that can create a powerful sense of well-being in our hearts and minds.

The Beacon, along with the bakery, is the initiative of housing association Riverside ECHG which provides temporary housing, training and specialist support to ex-servicemen and women who are at risk of homelessness.

The bakery is run in partnership with Clervaux Trust which operates a similar artisan bakery based in nearby Darlington.

Riverside’s Area Manager, Trevor Morris, an ex-serviceman himself, said:

When people leave the Armed Forces they often find that while they have lots of very useful team and project management skills, they need to develop trades that will find them jobs in civilian life. We have helped support over 9,000 Veterans in the last ten years and we consulted with a lot of our ex-Servicemen and women about what trades would interest them and active trades such as a bakery and landscaping came out very high.

Rick McCordall, Commercial Manager of Clervaux Trust, said:

Clervaux Trust helps disenfranchised and disadvantaged young people in the North East find purpose and self-worth. This is achieved by re-engaging people in practical ‘hands-on’ experience. Baking bread has proved to be a very therapeutic and enjoyable activity and provides a real sense of achievement. In addition to the vocational training, the Veterans Artisan Bakery is working towards becoming a viable social enterprise selling high quality breads and food across the Catterick and Richmond areas.

A high-profile campaign to raise funds was launched by fundraising organisation Cause UK at Harewood House with celebrity chef Marco Pierre White last October. The Hesco Bastion Fund, set up by the late Jimi Heselden, donated substantial funds to establish the bakery.

Rosemary Shrager is the author of a number of cookery books including ‘Rosemary Shrager’s Absolutely Foolproof Home Classic Cookery’ and holds her cookery courses at Swinton Park. She is a regular face on TV on shows such as The Alan Titchmarsh Show and This Morning and featured on the TV series, Ladette to Lady as well as presenting her own show Rosemary Shrager’s School for Cooks.

Harrogate-based Clair Challenor Chadwick, Founder and Managing Director of CAUSE UK said:

It’s an amazing feeling to know that Cause UK raised the money for this bakery and now it’s officially launched. We began our campaign with Marco Pierre White in October last year and the bakery is already off to a flying start. We have lots more exciting projects in the pipeline for charities across Yorkshire and our aim is to make a real difference, whether it’s raising funds or capturing media and public attention. We like to think ourselves a Rebels With a Cause!


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