Craven Crusts: grab a slice of the community bakery, café and artspace

I’m so proud of Himself.  Not for putting his money where his mouth is or for being a quietly enthusiastic supporter and advocate for something he is passionate about, although he has and he is, but for rolling up his sleeves and pitching in.

Over the last few months he’s been working his socks off as part of a team of people who are trying to reopen a 110 year old local bakery for the community as an artisan bakery with bread baked on the premises, a comfortable and affordable community café and an art space.


The way that they are doing it is by setting up a community cooperative that anyone can buy shares in. This will help them raise the £350,000 to buy the property from the current owner, refurbish it and start running the business. If they don’t then there’s a risk that the building will be demolished to make way for student accommodation.

So why am I especially proud? None of this sounds counter-cultural to those of you who know Himself: deeply passionate, working like a trojan, fully committed. But what is different is that he volunteered to work with other community members, in a group, after seeing an article in the ECHO.  He’s joined t’committee.

Characteristically he only told me about this after I’d heard about the initiative and mentioned it to him. The conversation went something like this:

>>>Me: Ooh, I’ve been meaning to tell you, there’s this thing on date X, it’s a share launch for a local community bakery. I thought it sounded right up your street.

>>>Himself: …longish silence where he weighs up whether to tell me…. Ah, yes. I’ve kind of joined the board for that. I’ll be there all day, but you don’t have to be.

image

Bread made by Himself's own fair hand

Volunteering and joining in to work with others is not very like Himself, and it’s a measure of how seriously he’s taking this and how deeply he feels about it.

So even if you are not somebody who is normally a joiner-in please do read the share offer and the business plan on the Craven Crusts website and consider joining in by 6 July.

Here is an explanation that he wrote Himself…

Craven Crusts – Your chance to grab a slice of a local bakery and café

You probably don’t know this, but I’m part of a team trying to reopen a 110 year old Chapelfields bakery.  Over the last couple of years I’ve got really interested in baking my own bread and when I heard about the project I got involved to try and make it happen, so now I’m asking you to do the same.

Until 6 July we are selling shares in a community co-operative to raise £350,000 to create a community bakery, café and artspace in the old Pails’ Bakery on Craven Street.

The current owner of the premises needs to sell the building or apply for planning permission to demolish it.  We are trying to save the building from the threat of demolition to make way for student flats.

Our plan is to be the first place in Coventry where you can buy fresh artisan bread baked on the premises.

We are also planning a comfortable and affordable community café, artspace and function room.  We’ve run consultation, focus groups and listened to the community on social media on everything from the name of the business to the menu in the café so we can find out what people want.

You can buy shares in blocks of £50 and all shareholders will have an equal say in the running of the business (one shareholder, one vote) including how to reinvest any profits for the benefit of the community.

You can read the share offer document and the business plan on the Craven Crusts website.  If you want to invest you can print a share application form from the website and you need to get this back to us with your payment by 7 July.

If you’ve got any questions then please do get in touch with me on simont@cravencrusts.com.

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