Learning to thrive

Welcome to our new trainees!

Over the last couple of weeks we have been absolutely thrilled to welcome a new group of trainees to our social enterprise Rise bakery.

The idea behind our training programme? It’s simple: to help people experiencing homelessness to integrate and grow in confidence through the extraordinary  power of baking.

Our premise is to create an environment of compassion, inclusiveness and acceptance. It’s vital that our trainees have greater opportunities to reach their potential and broaden their hopes for the future.

Throughout the 10-week programme, our trainees meet weekly to learn about 10 different types of baked goods, from brownies to pizza dough, to vegan baking to traybakes.  For some participants it’s a steep learning curve.

The trainees radiate such a wonderfully positive energy. They are curious and open to increasing their knowledge.  

Many of the participants are in a vulnerable position. They are often under a huge amount of stress. This is why these classes provide a way for people to connect, as well as build confidence and skills for employment.

For each cohort of trainees, we try to ensure that there is some opportunity for employment after completing the course.

Some exciting news: next week we are organising a bakery trip to visit Better Health Bakery in Haggerston. Better Health Bakery is a social enterprise, which is part of The Centre for Better Health, a long-standing Hackney-based mental health charity. They offer trainee placements in their bakery to adults who have been distanced from employment due to mental ill-health.

We will get a “behind-the-scenes” tour of their bakery as well as sampling their delicious products. We can’t wait! We are so grateful to be connected to Better Health bakery. One of our current trainees has already secured a placement with Better Health to begin in the Autumn.

Some other fab plans: we are extending our bakery, which means we will be able to increase the number of trainees (and brownies that we bake). We will be updating you in due course.

In the meantime, enjoy this photo of some of our trainees’ scrumptious treats….


A Special Recipe for World Chocolate Day

Did you know that chocolate has its own day of celebrations on 07 July? At Rise* we totally understand why chocolate is so deserving of its own day of honour. Chocolate is our favourite flavour!

We get through nearly 10kg of it a week. The average Brit consumes about 11kg a year, roughly 3 bars a week. Considering the ravenous rate of Rise’s (and the nations’) chocolate consumption, we thought we’d highlight one of our favourite brownie recipes: double chocolate brownies.

So on Sunday as an excuse to enjoy, indulge and appreciate chocolate, please give our brownie chocolate recipe a go. Our charity, Providence Row, will be showing chocolate-themed cinema masterpieces (think Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Chocolat) during film club.

Their weekly film club is one of the many classes they offer to help people experiencing homelessness to have a creative outlet. We all need a bit of laughter and comedy (and chocolate) in our lives.

Providence Row will also provide film club attendees with delicious milk chocolate kindly donated by Divine Chocolates - what a treat!

Rise Double Chocolate Brownies
32x21cm tray, makes 18 brownies
250g Dark chocolate to melt
150g Dark chocolate chips
210g Room temperature unsalted butter
250g Caster sugar:
3 Eggs
150g Plain flour
1.5 tsp Vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the Oven to 190C

  2. Spray the baking tray with oil and line with grease proof paper. Cut a slit in the corners so that the paper fits neatly in the tray

  3. Put the dark chocolate to melt in a bowl set over a Bain-marie of simmering water. Stir every 10 minutes to help it melt evenly then remove and allow to cool a little.

  4. Beat the butter and sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. You will need to use a spatula to clean the sides of the mixing bowl and make sure the butter is mixed evenly.

  5. Add the vanilla and then the eggs one at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each egg.

  6. Sieve and mix in the flour (there’s no need to over beat, just make sure it’s well incorporated)

  7. Mix in the melted chocolate (wipe the bottom of the bain-marie bowl to make sure that no water gets into the mix).

  8. Mix in the dark chocolate chips.

  9. Scrape the mixture into the prepared tray using a spatula.

  10. Spread it evenly reaching the corners.

  11. Bake for 22 minutes until just firm to the touch (the skewer test doesn’t work as the centre is still a little molten).

  12. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a minimum of one hour before chopping.

    * Rise Bakery is Providence Row’s award-winning social enterprise which helps people get
    into work through training. People experiencing homelessness are able to gain skills, experience and a qualification under the supervision of trained chefs producing high quality brownies.


A strawberry and fresh herb compote recipe: in honour of Open Garden Squares Weekend 8-9 June

Did you know that Providence Row and Rise Bakery have their very own roof garden? Bursting to the seams with seasonal produce and flowers, our garden is also home to compost and recycling systems, solar panels, bee hives and a wormery.  

We are very proud of the fact that solar power provides 15% of the energy used by our Providence Row offices and hostel. Our roof garden also provides produce to our day centre kitchen to feed 30 people for lunch 5 days a week.

We are delighted that our multi-award winning garden has been invited to take part in the Open Garden Squares weekend (for a third year running) on Saturday 8th June.

Open Garden Squares is a fantastic opportunity to delve into London’s hidden gardens and learn about the great initiatives happening behind the trees and shrubs. Whilst we often associate produce grown in our gardens with cooking, it’s easy to forget that the same produce can also be used in baking. It’s all about elevating flavours and taking the bake to the next level.

With an abundance of seasonal fruits, herbs and vegetables available on hand to pick, bake and eat, we’re very lucky at Rise Bakery to have access to our roof garden. It’s as fresh as it gets.

This week we’ve been eyeing up our crop of strawberries, which are all rosy and ripe and ready to be enjoyed with a cream tea. At our Rise Bakery, we’ve also been talking about making jams and compotes by marrying strawberries and tayberries with garden mint. We also like the idea of making Victoria sponge cakes.  Our Bakery Training Scheme commences in July…fingers crossed the jam will last till then!

If you would like to visit our urban jungle, tickets can be bought online at Open Garden Squares (see link below). Our Providence Row roof garden will be open on Saturday 8th June only, with garden tours led by our fantastic Garden Co-ordinator Julie. There will also be delicious Rise Bakery brownies on sale and music and art in the courtyard.


In the meantime, here is a simple garden forage recipe to whet your appetite. Hope to see you on Saturday 8th June!

Strawberry and fresh herb compote

Serves 4

  • 500g strawberries (350g diced, 150g sliced in half)

  • 0-2 tbsp unrefined sugar (or honey) amount depends on sweetness of the strawberries

  • Squeeze fresh lemon juice

  • Pinch of salt flakes and grind of black pepper (optional)

  • Small handful fresh basil or mint leaves

 Wash the strawberries. Remove stems and prepare: 350g in small chunks, 150g sliced in half or quarters along the length. Set the sliced strawberries aside, to add at the end.

Place the 350g diced strawberries in a pan with the sugar or honey and seasoning, and cook on a medium to low heat for about 10 minutes until softened and sauce like.

Remove from heat, add lemon juice, torn or sliced fresh herbs and the remaining 150g of halved strawberries.

Enjoy with yoghurt, buttered bread, sponge cake, scone, rice pudding, ice cream or simply on its own!


Providence Row’s top 3 tips for mindful baking

By Joey, Rise Bakery’s Coordinator

Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week (13-19 May) and 17th May was World Baking Day. The overlapping of these two events serves as a useful reminder of the therapeutic, meditative and mindful benefits of baking, particularly for relieving stress and anxiety.

The UK has witnessed a resurgence in baking over the last few years.  Many would argue that we have the likes of Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood and the team behind the hugely popular BAFTA award- winning show The Great British Bake Off (currently filming its 10th series!) to thank for this. 

In the UK, we are also seeing an increase in the number of people suffering from anxiety, depression and other mental health difficulties. Mental health can affect anyone and doesn’t discriminate. In fact, over 25% of us will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in our life.

A collection of recent reports suggests that anxiety and unhappiness among young people is growing. According to the British charity YouthNet, a third of young women and one in 10 young men suffer from panic attacks. Anxiety, depression and panic disorders are nothing new, but the increase in people suffering from them is a recent trend.

So, how can we connect the pursuit of baking to mental well-being and find ways to use baking as a force for good?  The answer is mindful baking. Simply put, mindful baking is about paying attention to oneself in the moment and not being in the past or the future, but really being there.

Baking is a wonderful way to practice mindfulness and ultimately improve one’s mood and reduce stress. From start to finish, the act of baking guides you to focus on the present, giving your mind some respite from those niggling thoughts and distractions. Selecting and weighing ingredients takes precision and focus, whilst the practical and tactile processes of getting your hands dirty mixing, kneading and feeling your ingredients requires you to tune into and trust your senses.

A peer mentor at our Rise Bakery recently asked, how we will know when the eggs and sugar are whisked enough? By really looking, feeling, smelling and even hearing the ingredients take shape over time, you start to feel confident in making the judgement calls on your own. Soon enough, you just know when the cake is cooked, or perhaps even more importantly, the steps you need to take to rectify a mistake and save your baked good. That belief in your own knowledge and sense of control can be incredibly grounding. 

Combining ingredients together in creative ways to produce dishes that are the sum of their parts can bring a momentary sense of calm and control. As John Whaite, Winner of Great British Bake Off 2012 (diagnosed with manic depression 10 years ago) stated: "When I'm in the kitchen, measuring the amount of sugar, flour or butter I need for a recipe or cracking the exact number of eggs - I am in control. That's really important as a key element of my condition is a feeling of no control." 

Whether you’re a keen baker, a complete beginner, an enthusiastic cake tester or simply looking for a new way to relax and unwind, here are Providence Row’s top 3 tips for mindful baking:  

1. Prepare yourself and the ingredients: Give yourself time and space to focus on the task. Carefully read the recipe, imagine how your baked good will turn out, and think about the occasion it will bring or who you may share it with; a birthday, pudding, to be enjoyed with a cup of tea and a good book etc.

2. Focus on your senses: Really pay attention to your ingredients as you weigh and measure them; where have they come from? How do they feel? Engage your senses during the mixing or kneading processes, focusing on touch, and allow your mind to take you down memory lane as the smells of warm bread, cookies or cakes waft from the oven.

3. Enjoy engaging in the whole process, not fixating on producing a ‘perfect’ result:  Take time to enjoy your baked good, share it and above all really taste it and appreciate the baking journey it took to get there. 

The principle of mindful practice can be transferred to any part of your routine: running, art, writing, walking. With time and practice mindfulness (and baking) will become a piece of cake.

midnful baking option 2.jpg

Rise Bakery named Social Enterprise of the Year by Homeless Link

Rise Bakery, part of London homelessness charity Providence Row, was named Social Enterprise of the Year at Homeless Link’s Excellence Awards on Tuesday 3 July 2018. 

The bakery, run from Providence Row’s day centre, combines a supported bakery trainee scheme for people affected by homelessness with an online brownie order business. With a strong online platform and an exciting contemporary brand Rise delivers post box friendly boxes all across the country to city corporates, retail customers, cafes and markets.

Providing quality training trainees is essential to Rise Bakery who work with some of the most difficult to reach people. Their trainees are often affected by multiple disadvantages, such as rough sleeping, mental health and drug and alcohol issues, which can prevent them from gaining training and employment opportunities. Rise gives them something to be part of, motivates them as they tackle the issues they’re facing, and gives them to confidence to move towards employment.

Providence Row’s Director of Services Dominic Gates said: “We are thrilled to have received this prestigious award. We are particularly proud as it recognises not just the quality of the products or the success of the business, but also the most important thing – the social impact for those taking part in the training.”
The Homeless Link Excellence Awards showcase the innovative, effective work that homelessness organisations are doing around the country to support those experiencing homelessness. The Social Enterprise of the year award recognises social enterprises that can demonstrate a clear vision, strategic direction and business excellence alongside a social impact that is creating better outcomes for individuals experiencing homelessness.


Last orders for Christmas 2017!

Season’s greetings everyone!

We hope you’ve got a fun and festive time planned this year.

As we’re a small community bakery we will be closing over Christmas and New Year to give our bakers a well-deserved rest. We will be turning off the oven and hanging up our chef’s hats on Wednesday 20 December. Don’t worry though because we’ll be back baking our delicious brownies again on Tuesday 2 January.

Fancy celebrating the season with some Rise Brownies? If so, get your order in before 2pm on Wednesday 20 December to help make sure we can get them in the last Royal Mail Christmas post for you (please note we cannot guarantee delivery dates).

Best wishes,

From the Rise Bakery team x