bethesdabakers (for Carla)

bethesdabakers's picture

Hello Carla,

I thought the other thread was going so off topic I'd start afresh.

There's no big secret. Over two years ago I went to the probation service with an idea to set up an artisan bakery that would act as a project to help longterm unemployed people back into work and at the same time show that these people were able to produce a top quality product.

They were extremely enthusiastic and involved a large voluntary organisation called Nacro because as an existing charity they were in a position to apply for and administer public funds. So the idea was that I would be the project manager, Nacro would handle the funding and administration and probation would supply the trainees. So for a year I did all the leg-work, wrote the funding applications and developed the idea. Occasionally they would find a bit of money to pay me but a lot of the time I was paying for myself.

Early on I started a thread on Dan Lepard's site that developed into a sort of blog and I got great support from people on that forum.

Anyway to cut a huge story short, at least eighteen months after we started we recruited the first eleven trainees because if we didn't start there and then we would have lost the funding. The fact that the bakery wasn't ready was neither here nor there. I started teaching the guys how to bake in the kitchens of the local rugby club. From that point Nacro simply took over the project by sidelining me. Whereas I used to be involved in negotiations with the funding agency, I simply wasn't informed of meetings. I wasn't involved in recruitment - all employment issues were taken on by Nacro. Various other people were involved in training the group in job search, finding the work placements, etc. but, even though I was supposed to be managing the project we never ever met as a team. By default I was reduced to the role of bakery assistant.

Meanwhile the thread on Dan's forum had grown to about 30 pages long. I hadn't really thought about how it would develop and as I was just talking to my baking friends and as the stuff I write is usually fairly irreverant, I said a few things that were open to missinterpretation. My biggest mistake was to post some photos of the guys working. Someone with an axe to grind found the thread and not only reported me to probation and Nacro but did an immense amount of stiring with the group.

Hence I had to ask Dan to remove the thread.

Basically I have resigned because Nacro have in effect taken the project away from me. They are the contractor to the funding agency and I have no influence (or security).

Two days to go.


277 users have voted.


TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2006 December 4

Darn! I was all ready to celebrate Mick being a free man at last...and I forgot.

Anyway........[size=24][color=red]WOO[/color][color=cyan]OO[/color][color=violet]OO[/color][color=yellow]OO[/color][color=violet]HOO[/color][color=orange]OO[/color][color=olive]OO[/color][color=darkblue]OO[/color][color=darkred]OO[/color]!!![/size] Their Loss (though they're too thick to know it) is Our Gain. It'd be interesting to see how they fare a few months down the road......if they are still surviving.

carla's picture
carla 2006 November 29

Ah Mick - what a story!

I never saw the thread at Dan's forum, my firewall seems to have always issues with his forum...

It doesn't sound right at all to me what this organisation has done to you, but as with so much in life we just have to look at it, think about it and then and move forwards.

So what is going to be next for you then? Carry on baking? Or something completely different?

You could always immigrate to NZ
They are advertising here for "scratch-bakers", which I find highly amusing! It so confirms that there is also an "industrial" or "factory" baking going on which is always denied...

Best of luck in your future endevours! (Now that word looks odd - maybe my spelling is way out?)

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