The Feel Good Bakery is aptly named. Trading since June 2014, the social enterprise sells its range of fresh made sandwiches from a number of key sites across South London, but it’s ‘feel good’ philosophy is being felt much further afield. This is because, for every sandwich sold, The Feel Good Bakery donates a meal to a child living in extreme poverty through feeding programmes in Nairobi, Romania, and Zambia. As the team says: one small sandwich for man, one giant sandwich for mankind!
However the feel good ethos doesn’t stop there. The initiative was set up by Regenerate, a charitable organisation that supports the young people and families living in Roehampton and other South London estates by bringing about positive change. Here supplying drugs is often the most accessible form of employment for the estate’s younger generation - not to mention one of the most lucrative - and once in that lifestyle it can be very hard to escape, especially with a criminal record.
Andy Smith, Regenerate’s CEO said, “Regenerate was set up 19 years ago and supports young people wanting to turn their lives around from drug dealing and other criminal activity. It does this by helping to find them the right future career but in the meantime offers a paid job and a business mentor”.
Back in the autumn of 2014, Andy began recruiting a team of young ex-offenders including Jarvis and Nathan who were looking to change their lives. Jarvis explained, “I’ve known Andy for 11 years as he used to do a puppet show at my primary school and in 2009 he took me to Romania with Regenerate to see the work they do there. I was still dealing drugs and went to prison the year after but when I came out Regenerate was there to help”.
Nathan’s, story is similar, “When I was 19 I got arrested for selling drugs. I tried to get a job but no one would hire me so I ended up selling drugs again and getting arrested whilst on bail. Andy gave me a job when I got out last October. I wasn’t fulfilling my potential before but now my family are really proud of me and my kids. I even get more attention from the ladies” he grinned.
Lots of organisations contributed to The Feel Good Bakery providing their services for free. The branding was created by Antidote. David Loftus, who is Jamie Oliver’s food photographer, created all the imagery, and Tesco donated £15,000 for equipment.
The menu was designed by top food technician Sheena West (who has previously designed products for Marks and Spencer’s) and the Feel Good Bakery team make Sheena’s sandwiches fresh each morning. The offering is a combination of classic fillings - such as mozzarella and roasted tomato, and smoked ham with cheddar – each filling has a unique twist and many include cooked elements for added flavour and texture. “Tuna is probably our biggest seller” said Jarvis, “and the hummus and roast vegetable is really popular too”.
Nathan was responsible for sourcing packaging and, having looked at a few companies, was impressed by Planglow’s range of plant-based products, “It was very professional looking and I think helped everything come together for us. Our account manager came to see us so we could show him the branding and explain how we wanted the packaging and labelling to work together. He came back with some ideas and we were able to take it from there. But it was the more personal touches that swung it really – just coming down and helping us out. And when we had an issue with delivery, he was there to get it sorted”.
The Feel Good Bakery currently sells produce to a variety of local cafes and businesses including Innocent, the Diocese of London, top beauty company Coty and leading marketing agency Velocity. The team can also be found at a pop up in Putney as well as delivering orders all over South London using refrigerated vehicles and traditional bicycles and trailers. Andy said, “We’re really busy and taking new orders from offices, conferences and meetings in the area all the time – it’s going from strength to strength and down to the hard work of the team”.
If you are interested in stocking sandwiches from The Feel Good Bakery, please visit the website www.thefeelgoodbakery.com and remember ‘one small sandwich for man, one giant sandwich for mankind’.
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