A bakery is just a bakery; the young people at Prior’s Court makes ours extraordinary

Dylan Needham, Artisan Bakery Manager

 

Autism and the Workplace

Only 32% of autistic adults in the UK are in paid employment, despite over 80% stating a clear wish to work. This figure falls to a shocking 16% in full-time employment. This hasn’t changed in over a decade and for people with severe autism, the picture is even bleaker with the current expectation being that they will never enter the world of work.

Prior’s Court, a residential school and young adult provision for young people with severe autism, believe in extraordinary futures for young people with autism, and already 83% of 19-25 year olds enrolled at Prior's Court are successfully engaged in a work placement. The transformations seen through existing workplace programmes sparked the ambition to do a whole lot more...and Bread & Beyond was born.

 

Building our bakery

Bread and Beyond logoThe concept of a bakery was inspired by a trip to America where staff at Prior's Court were able to see some exceptional projects developing real work opportunities for people with autism. They came back enthusiastic and inspired. The idea for a self-sustaining bakery was born.

Baking really suits the strength and skills of people with autism; highly process driven, practical and with an end product which is rewarding and motivating. Using Prior's Court expertise in supporting young people with severe autism and consulting industry experts, our state-of-the-art bakery was built to provide work-skills training by teaching our young people to make amazing bread – the best in Berkshire our staff say!

Steve Fudge baking with ShaunThe bakery aims to be self-sustaining but was built and equipped thanks to some generous donations to the Prior's Court Bakery Appeal. We have been fortunate to have had valuable support from Fudge's Managing Director, confectioner and bakery guru, Steve Fudge (pictured right). He was completely won over by the potential of the project while conducting a baking session with two of our star bakers in the making, Jenny and Shaun (pictured with Steve). 

 

Bread & Beyond into the future

We called our bakery Bread & Beyond because it's about going beyond the expected or what's possible with bread and with our bakers' futures. The aim is that eventually Bread & Beyond will benefit many young people with autism outside of Prior’s Court as explained by Mike Robinson, CEO:

Prior’s Court is one of a small number of organisations in the UK with the skills and experience to successfully support people with severe autism into the world of work. Our ambition is that our bakery makes the single largest contribution in the UK to reducing the disability employment gap for people with severe autism by providing a ‘template’ for others to copy.

If you are interested in our 'template', or in becoming a stockist, please get in touch.

 

Amazing bread, professional standards

Sonny getting his gloves onBeing able to provide workplace experiences for our young people changes their lives and future prospects. In addition to this, we also aim to make amazing bread. Currently, all bread being sold is made by our very own Artisan Baker, Dylan Needham, but our ultimate aim is to involve our young people in this production process. They are currently taking part in taster sessions but will eventually be working towards a certification as part of a bespoke training programme developed by Dylan.

Shortly after opening our bakery, we gained the highly sought after 5* hygiene rating from the Foods Standards Agency and our training programme will ensure that young people learn to adhere to the very highest standards.

Find out more about our product range.  You can also follow the progress our young people are making here.