When the Tower Bakery was unveiled in a partnership between HM Prison Service and Novus, the hope was that it had all the ingredients to be a positive addition to HMP Manchester.
Two years on, it is a success story of which the prison is proud. Run by trained bakers Paul Dunn, Geoffrey Crossfield and David Flynn and employing 24 offenders, the bakery caters for 1,200 people five days a week.
Not only do offenders gain experience of working in a commercial size bakery, they also have the opportunity to gain a Level 2 qualification in Baking Proficiency. They have gained vital self-confidence and motivation, with employability skills preparing them for the world of work. The knowledge and feeling of purpose picked up throughout the process gives offenders a chance of obtaining a job upon release, which reduces the risk of re-offending.
In the November 2014 Ofsted inspection, the bakery was graded Outstanding and hailed as the ‘jewel in the crown’, with excellent facilities and highly-qualified and skilled staff.
On any given day the team produces 300 loaves of bread, 500 sub-rolls, 250 ploughman’s and 1,000 burger buns, as well as adding pies, pizza and flan bases to the special’s board. Bakery trainer David Flynn says: “In a large, busy bakery and production line the offenders have the opportunity to build skills and knowledge that can help them make the transition from working here to working in a bakery outside very easy."
Offender ‘Gordon’ says: “Cooking is my passion and I want to open a restaurant serving West Indian food. The bakery has giving my cookery a whole new direction. Now I can do so much more.”
Cooking is my passion and I want to open a restaurant serving West Indian food. The bakery has giving my cookery a whole new direction. Now I can do so much more.