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01 November 2015

The Luminary Bakery

The Luminary Bakery

Alice Boyle founded The Luminary Bakery, an innovative response to vulnerable women from a background of social and economic disadvantage. The project is a social enterprise designed to offer opportunities for women to build a future for themselves and their families. The Luminary Bakery provides a safe and professional environment where women can grow holistically – encouraging ambition, restoration and second chances.

My alarm is set for a different time every day, depending on if I’m running a course early morning, or working late – but the first thing I always do is check my phone! Whether for work or Instagram-related purposes…

I’m a bit of a nomad at the moment. I either work from an office just off Brick Lane, which is a bit crowded but has a printer and most of my files, Husk Café in Limehouse, which is where the bakery business and courses run currently, Kahaila café to hold meetings, or from home if I need to focus on writing a report. I spend a lot of my time on the London Overground…

My mornings usually start with being bombarded with a load of problems! Running our social enterprise from a temporary and tiny kitchen means we face a lot of challenges at the moment, and the women we support live lives where housing, money, health and relationships are often difficult. But if nothing has gone wrong I set my laptop up and get responding to emails so they’re out the way. I read somewhere that the most productive people don’t start their day by answering emails, but I find a clear inbox equals a clear mind.

Each of my days look very different at the moment. Generally it’s admin in the morning as the women we support prefer meeting up in afternoons, so first thing is a good time to get planning and administration done. One morning a week we run a money management and character development Reflex course in a women’s prison, which is always my favourite morning. On the days we’re running our employability course we get a chance to
pray as a team at the start of the day, which is super refreshing to stop and do together in a busy week.

I have a very predictable vegan stew for lunch, every single day. I make a load at the start of the week and freeze it, making the rest of the week cheaper and easier. Working for a bakery it’s very tempting to live off baked goods all the time, so it keeps me in check. I always eat at my desk unless we’re eating together as a team.

Afternoons usually will be spent meeting with women; one-to-one support sessions, general catch-ups or attending hospital or legal appointments with them, or baking workshops. We use baking as a tool to take women on a journey to employability and entrepreneurship, equipping them
with practical and transferrable skills for the working world. We offer courses, work experience and paid employment within our bakery, empowering women to build a career and a positive future. By investing in and releasing them to realise their dreams, through training, employment and community, we aim to break the generational cycles of abuse, prostitution, criminal activity and poverty, which currently hold these women back fromreaching their potential. Team meetings tend to happen after the bakers have finished fulfilling orders, so late afternoon or evening. I also try to network as much as I can with like-minded organisations and get a lot of requests to meet up with people looking to start their own social enterprise or want to work with vulnerable women.

I try to finish around 6pm unless I have a meeting, event or something urgent that needs completing. I love dancing and working out in the evening if I’ve got the energy, but often Netflix is the more attractive option! Otherwise I see friends, or go to church on Wednesday nights.

I try to be in bed by 11pm. I’m not one of those people that does well on little sleep. I do get to do outreach to the red light area once a month, so that’s a really late night but it’s usually on Fridays so I can lie in at the weekend.


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