Community owned bakery all set to open in Dunbar

Scotland’s first community-owned bakery will open for business in the East Lothian seaside town of Dunbar next Thursday (October 6).

Called simply “The Bakery,” it will offer residents of Dunbar and the surrounding area tasty wholesome artisan bread that is made and baked on the premises.

The initiative was motivated by a desire to revive retail activity on Dunbar’s picturesque High Street, to promote healthy eating and to create local jobs.

Like many small towns in Scotland, Dunbar needs an innovative way to regenerate its town centre and create growth and investment.

Dunbar Community Bakery was set up as a community cooperative after the town’s last home bakery shut down in 2008 when its owners retired.

Some 300 local residents contributed £38,000 through a share issue. The rest of the start up capital came from grants and loans.

Shareholders in this novel enterprise will not receive any dividend payment. But they will be entitled to a 10% discount every time they pop into The Bakery for a loaf of bread, a hot pie or some morning rolls.

Scotland has lost more than half its home bakeries over the past 30 years as people have turned to supermarkets, chains of commercial bakeries and fast food outlets instead.

But The Bakery in Dunbar aims to capitalise on a growing demand for artisan bread made by hand in the traditional manner without chemical additives.

Jane Wood, the chairperson of the Dunbar Community Bakery’s Management Committee, said: “This is a first for Scotland. Our market research shows clearly that there is still strong demand in Dunbar and the surrounding area for tasty wholesome bread that has been made and baked on the premises and which is available locally.

“Hotels and restaurants in the surrounding area have expressed strong interest in taking our produce. We are looking to create a sustainable market for our products.

“Community-based enterprises can be an important driver of growth in today’s difficult economic climate.

“We hope the success of this enterprise will be an inspiration for other communities to launch similar initiatives.”

She added: “I cannot thank the community shareholders enough for their support and their faith that we could make this happen. I am also grateful to the Management Committee who have pushed forward this initiative for the last two years. Their expertise and enthusiasm and the time they have dedicated to making this dream a reality has been hugely important.”

The enterprise will initially create six new full-time jobs. It plans to offer apprenticeships to school leavers in due course.

Baking classes to show local people how to make delicious bread at home are also on the agenda.

Dunbar Community Bakery is a community cooperative that was formed in June 2009 to open a new home bakery on Dunbar High Street.

The initiative was launched following the closure of a long-established family-run bakery on Dunbar High Street upon the retirement of its owners.

The enterprise takes the form of an Industrial and Provident Society and the profits will be ploughed back into developing the business and enabling it to support skills, educational and employability issues within the local community.