The Assembly Bakery have been making artisan sourdough bread, pastries and other baked goods in Bristol since 2017. Pre COVID-19 they had two shops operating, one in Old Market, the other in Wapping Wharf, a new development in Bristol’s Harbourside area, as well as selling to wholesale customers.
Since the Coronavirus crisis began, the bakery has made the difficult decision to close their shops. However, they are still baking, and are the only bakery delivering their bread directly to the streets of Bristol. Around 500 loaves and a few pastries are being sent directly to 15 streets, with around 350 households, in the north of the city. Whilst it’s not turning as much profit as when the shops are open, the reduced staff and baking output means that financially, the numbers are pretty good.
This model has been possible through a network of friends and contacts who live on these streets and have access to What’s App groups and community contact. After gauging demand, the van pulls up on the street and, through appropriate social distancing, people queue up to buy fresh warm bread. ‘Some say it’s the highlight of their week – we’ve had lots of positive feedback about the bread. It’s been great to introduce the bakery to a new audience,’ says Jamie Dingle, one of the founders of the bakery. It’s been so popular that as many as 30 people have been known to stand in line, taking the time to chat with the rest of their street in the sunshine. Not only is it providing sustainably and locally produced food, the bakery is also bringing communities together at a time when people need it the most.