Manchester bakery opening to offer jobs to the homeless

Oli Wilson, a Manchester music promoter, is opening a bakery in order to offer jobs to the homeless people of the city.

You’ll currently find an empty furniture warehouse on the site where Peacemeal will stand, but it will serve sandwiches and affordable meals on site, and run a delivery service to local businesses.

There’ll be a kitchen and dining area on the ground floor, alongside a free co-working space and pop-up shops, and there will also be an events space hosting occasional club nights.

The first floor will be used as a dance, yoga and meditation space, which community groups will be able to hire free of charge.  

Oli says: “Like all of us, I was distraught about the situation in the city and I wanted to do something about it.”

He has worked with homeless people through his role as director of 10,000 Hours, a foundation connecting music lovers to volunteering opportunities in their communities.

Oli adds that the project was partly inspired by Social Bites, a sandwich shop chain in Scotland that employs people from homeless and disadvantaged backgrounds. He says: “I couldn't believe Manchester didn't have something like that. I thought if we're trying to bring this kind of concept to Manchester we should revolve it around arts and music. That's when Peacemeal was born - my own incarnation of it.”

The food offering will revolve around the in-house bakery, with a range of sandwiches and a one-pot 'holy grail' dish such as soup, goulash or dhal, served with bread.

A rooftop farm is also being planned, with the help of Dr Andrew Jenkins of Queen's University Belfast, who has published research into how Manchester's buildings could be harnessed for urban agriculture.

They hope to grow crops in polytunnels for use in the kitchen as well as working with Hive Urban Farms to grow mushrooms. The garden will also offer community outreach and volunteer programmes.