What type of prisoners come to Freedom Bakery? Prisoners come to us on day release from HMP Barlinnie, a large local facility that houses both short-tariff and life-sentence offenders. The Scottish Prison Service nominates inmates for the Freedom Bakery scheme; we are not involved in the selection process. Our only stipulations are that we don’t accept inmates convicted of sex crimes or offences involving children.
What does their experience entail? Our trainees are mainly involved in the delivery side of the business, helping to prepare and fulfil our customers’ orders.
What are you trying to achieve with this scheme? In a nutshell, we believe in second chances. Right now, there are relatively few employers in the UK whose doors are open to ex-offenders. At Freedom Bakery, the inmates who join us for training may go on to become employees upon their release, or at least take away work experience that will be valuable when they’re looking for work elsewhere. We believe in a society that is broad enough to include people who have made mistakes, and compassionate enough to understand the complexity of an individual’s journey into criminality.
How do you measure the effectiveness of what you do? We have seen 36 trainees come through the bakery doors to date. Of that cohort, 2 have reoffended, and 10 have successfully found employment.
Where does support for the Freedom Bakery come from? We received a grant from the Triangle Trust, a loan/grant from Resilient Scotland, and we also received loans from seven private individuals through the Social Investment Tax Relief scheme.
How does the Freedom Bakery mission respond to government policy on these issues? It doesn’t – our thinking relates to individual lives, not national trends. Relationships matter and they are what we are able to nurture at the bakery. The greatest value of our work comes through job creation.
Can I get some free bread for my charitable event? We’re happy to speak to groups who represent charitable causes or who are organising an event for the community, or for a good cause. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Is your bread gluten-free and/or vegan-friendly? Our bread is unfortunately not gluten-free. But all our sourdoughs and our baguettes are vegan.