national grid ESO community fund

Supporting our colleagues and charities during COVID-19 – Proof Bakery

Last month we announced the launch of our community fund to support our colleagues who are involved in community-based organisations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’ve been highlighting some of these charities and the amazing work they do to help and support people and local communities. Hopefully you spotted our posts on Yeldall Manor and Marie Curie Solihull!  

Community fund

Proof Bakery 

The next organisation we’d like to put the spotlight on is Proof Bakery. They’re a not-for-profit community interest company, that trains and employs refugee women in Coventry. The application was made on behalf of them by our Strategy Manager Juliette Richards. Juliette is one of the bakery’s advisory board members and has volunteered with the charity in her spare time. 

Normally, the bakery is supported by a number of different funding streams and incomes. Local people can purchase a regular delivery of artisan bread via a scheme to local community collection points. The bakery also offers baking masterclasses to the local community.  Much of this isn’t possible at present due to the lockdown. This is depriving the bakery of much needed commercial income.   

Proof receives grant funding to pay for basic training of newly arrived refugee women as bakers. Some of these women can then be employed by the bakery, others who have received food hygiene training and references have gone on to other food related jobs.    


In the current COVID-19 pandemic, many people who normally receive a bread delivery have been unable to collect these. Most of the collection points (churches, universities etc.) are now closed. Some generous customers have chosen to continue paying, with their bread being donated directly to Coventry Foodbank. The bakery has set up a new postal bread delivery service particularly aimed at those self-isolating or unable to shop for themselves due to health issues.  

Our donation 


national grid ESO community fund


On behalf of Proof, Juliette applied for funding for two specific activities during the current pandemic.  

The bakery’s oven was purchased secondhand in 2018, when they first opened. It can only accommodate five loaves on each shelf. They are looking to purchase an oven that would allow them to bake at least 15 loaves to a shelf. They also have one 30-litre mixer, but a second one would allow them to mix two batches of dough at the same time. By purchasing these together, these new items of equipment will let them double or possibly even triple their baking capacity, so that more families can be fed during this difficult time.   

Secondly, they need some additional funding to pay the extra cost of producing extra loaves for Coventry Foodbank each week until September. This would be on top of the 50-65 loaves each week already being generously funded by bakery customers who have donated their normal bread delivery to the foodbank. The Coventry Foodbank are receiving more visits than ever and will welcome extra food for those most in need.  

Proof Bakery added: 

 "We are very grateful for the funding provided by National Grid ESO. This is enabling us to send an additional 75 loaves of bread each week to Coventry Foodbanks for the next six months (a 60% increase on what we are currently able to donate). Coventry has seen a trebling in weekly foodbank usage since the start of the lockdown, from 300 to over 900 people each week. We're delighted to be able to meet more of that need with your support. Not only so, as an artisan bakery that trains and employs refugee women, the grant is enabling us to keep every one of our bakers in the jobs which they have worked so hard to attain." 

We’re delighted to be given the opportunity to support our colleagues and local charities that they are affiliated to. We’ll continue to highlight these charities and the fantastic work they’re doing over the next few weeks. 

Find out how we’re keeping the lights on during coronavirus.