Good Causes

Baking new ground in Liverpool

In a small corner shop in the shadow of Liverpool FC’s Anfield stadium, a dedicated team is building a better community one savoury pie at a time.

Homebaked, a community bakery located on the boundary between Anfield and Everton, is a symbol of how buildings threatened with demolition can get a new lease of life and how neighbourhoods can be regenerated.

Mitchell’s bakery in the 1980s

Now the bakery, known to thousands of Liverpool FC fans who have devoured its pies on match days, is lifting its crust to reveal some of its secrets. A baking workshop streamed live as part of Power to Change’s Community Business Festival – a two-day National Lottery-funded event celebrating community businesses in England – will diverge what makes Homebaked favourites like The Shankly and The Scouse pies so irresistible.

Angela McKay, Operations Manager at Homebaked, said, “We’re famous for our pies – it’s what keeps us afloat. I’d say The Shankly and The Scouse are the most popular, but we’ve just got permission from the family of [legendary Everton striker] Dixie Dean to make a new pie based on their recipe.”

The old Mitchell’s bakery building was empty and facing demolition when artist Jeanne van Heeswijk was commissioned by the 2010 Liverpool Biennial to help local people reclaim their neighbourhood. A hardy group of volunteers began baking in the premises and the project has grown into a thriving community business with 20 staff and a reputation for making some of the best pies, cakes and bread in the city.

As well as employing and training people in its kitchens – about 80% of them are locals – Homebaked has helped drive the regeneration of the area around the stadium. Angela, who started as a volunteer 8 years ago, said, “The bakery has gone from strength to strength. For years we were told that the area we lived in wasn’t worth anything. I think this project has shown what can be done when local people are given the chance to do good.”

Homebaked has had some help, of course. Power to Change, an independent trust set up in 2015 with a £150Million endowment from The National Lottery, has funded the project to the tune of £361,694.

The bakery is one of the stars of Power to Change’s Community Business Festival, a celebration of enterprises in England devised and run by communities. Held online on 13-14 August as a result of the coronavirus, the festival will feature masterclasses in everything from making flour and pies to saving your local pub and creating sustainable fashion.

Angela is convinced that the success of Homebaked has helped fuel the revival of the area around the stadium, a place she is proud to call home. She said, “The bakery has shown what can be done – that we don’t have to tear everything down.”

Learn more about The Community Business Festival 2020.

PHOTO: Mitchell’s bakery in the 1980s

11th August 2020

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