I hope you are all well and having a nice end of the summer.
I know it has been a while since you heard an update from the project; the reason is that there has been much uncertainty about how we could move forwards in the face of the challenges we have been encountering through the winter spring and early summer. There have been lots of changes in the last few weeks, lots of letting go and new paths and possibilities emerging now.
Let me explain….
Reaching our target with the Crowdfunder at the beginning of the year was truly amazing and gave us a lot of energy and encouragement. However we were still working under financial stress and most important we were running out of energy and needed new people getting involved. We had a lot of work on and were unable to spend enough time properly recruiting, organizing work days, events… in short pulling together the community support and resources that were there for us. Some of you had pledged skills as well as funds and we never had the time and energy to get properly in touch with everyone and gather the support.
We had underestimated how much it would take to build a kitchen from total scratch with very little money. We were overstretched and struggling to cope.
These difficulties affected a lot how we functioned as a group and we started to experience inner conflict which took away further energy. Different members had different ideas about how to move forwards in the face of this crisis and making decisions and working together proved difficult. As the months passed It was becoming clearer that we couldn’t sustain the project at Blackhorse Workshop.
Simon had been baking and brewing from the “Fermentarium” (the name of our space at BW) twice a week throughout the winter and spring; we kept doing courses from Hornbeam since BW proved to be a very cold venue despite the huge wood burner they had installed. So the space was underused and the bills kept coming.
A couple of weeks ago we had no other choice than to end the lease of the collective with BW as we were unable to meet the financial cost of keeping the space. We were really sad at the prospect of losing the venue and all the work we had put into building the kitchen with all your contributions. As a group we could not keep it going but after some talks we have found a way to have continuity:
The good news is that we have agreed with BW that Simon will stay brewing and baking at the space at a personal level sharing it with a little local business which would take care of the cafe side of things. So even though things will change on paper and in some practical ways the story and the project carries on… The Hornbeam center, always supportive, will keep hosting evening baking and other classes.
We will be dismantling the Community of Interest Company and keep operating as a collective. We all need a good break from it and most former members have disengaged at least temporarily but new bakers are showing up and Renee and Arlene (two great bakers) are taking responsibilities for organizing the baking for the saturday stalls and midweek baking (that keeps happening from bakers’ homes).
So yes the story continues if somehow looks a little different. The truth is that these things happen when one takes a risk and we have all learned a lot by going through this process, especially from the difficult moments, especially from the letting goes and the allowing new ways to emerge that make more sense.
I want to apologize for the lack of communication in the previous months but honestly it was difficult to know what to say until we ourselves gained clarity.
We hope you don’t feel very disappointed after placing your support and your trust in us for this adventure, we can only say that we did our best and will continue to do so, we can only say that the adventure continues and the community spirit lives on.
With gratitude and best warm wishes,
Hornbeam Bakers’ Collective
Some of you haven’t still collected your rewards, they are here waiting for you, please do get in touch!*