A bakery which has already made global headlines, is on a mission to make great bread and kick-start the careers of Teesside teenagers as it opens its new shop.
There was worldwide interest in Guisborough’s Brickyard Bakery after it invited people to bake their Christmas cakes in its ovens, provide a warm room for members of its community struggling with their fuel bills and make breakfasts for children on their exam day.
Now the not-for-profit Community Interest Company is opening a second bakery – in Middlesbrough’s Dundas Shopping Centre – and owner Ed Hamilton-Trewhitt said there has been nothing like it before.
As well as selling affordable artisan bread, pastries and savouries, Ed will be providing year-long paid internships for six young people who struggled at school.
“It’s for kids who don’t do well sitting behind desks and learning in conventional ways. But they respond fantastically to getting their hands dirty, working and producing something,” said the 55-year-old who was born in Redcar, left school with one qualification in metal work, worked in some of London’s top kitchens, cooked for royalty, opened restaurants, taught at college and studied at Teesside University.
As well as the interns, the new bakery will employ six members of staff including teaching assistants. They will help the teenagers study for their qualifications in food hygiene and retail.
The Brickyard Bakery is moving into the unit vacated by the Cooplands Bakery earlier this year and its arrival completes a circle for Ed who started selling his bread eight years ago in the Dundas Indoor Market.
“Dundas is fantastic and it’s a great site for us. We see it is an important hub in Middlesbrough. I’m really excited about being involved in encouraging more and more people to go there.”
Richard Wilson – Senior Associate with Teesside commercial property agent Dodds Brown, which manages the Dundas Shopping Centre on behalf of its owner – said the arrival of the Brickyard Bakery marks an important step in the reinvention of Middlesbrough town centre.
“More and more people will be attracted to live and work there as the investment planned by the Middlesbrough Development Corporation takes effect.
“These new communities need services, amenities and shops on their doorstep if Middlesbrough follows the concept of the 15-minute city which town planners are already adopting throughout the UK and the rest of the world.”
He added: “With its strong community values, independent retailers like Brickyard Bakery are the very embodiment of this concept. Ed – and the other independents who I’m confident will follow his lead – are essential to build a new and much-needed identity for Middlesbrough.”
The new bakery “helps create the full picture,” said Ed, who opened the Brickyard Bakery and Academy in Guisborough in 2014, selling artisan bread and providing courses for children, novices and bakers looking to improve their skills. “At Guisborough young people can get engaged in baking and creating fantastic things. If they are interested in it as a career, now that we’ve opening in Middlesbrough, they don’t have to go to a big college – which can be quite intimidating for some of them.
“Instead they will have the opportunity of coming somewhere that is specifically designed to be supportive and encouraging and gives them that 12 months of real work experience. That means they will feel a little bit more comfortable and confident when they go out into the wide world.”
Both bakeries, said Ed, will be selling “real bread at realistic prices. We refuse to have improvers, enhancers or additives in our bread. This is not just the preserve of the well-off middle classes. It’s absolutely for everybody.”
Ed already has plans to double the number of internships offered at Middlesbrough and is confident the model developed there will be repeated elsewhere. “I want to prove that this works and then work with people to roll it out,” he said. “Teesside could easily do with another two or three and ultimately we don’t need to stop at Teesside. The whole of the North East is desperate for real work for the kids that are coming through but don’t have much hope or future.”