Minister visits Northampton to see how community foundation is helping local causes

Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson gets a lesson bread baking with chief executive of the Good Loaf Suzy Van Rooyen, left, and Northampton South MP David Mackintosh, right.
Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson gets a lesson bread baking with chief executive of the Good Loaf Suzy Van Rooyen, left, and Northampton South MP David Mackintosh, right.

A government minister was given a whistle stop tour of Northamptonshire Community Foundation funded projects yesterday to see how the grant giving charity is benefiting the county.

Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson was shown a number of charitable projects in the town including The Mounts based Tools For Self-Reliance, Blackthorn Good Neighbours and the Good Loaf, a Northampton cafe which helps ex-offenders back into the world of work through learning to bake, while also generating its own income.

All of the projects the minister visited were helped through grants run by the community foundation.

The MP for Reading East, said: “I think the tour has shown Northamptonshire really is a county that backs social enterprise and social investment.”

Rachel McGrath from Northamptonshire Community Foundation said: “The object of today was to show the minister the fantastic work that goes on that the community foundation helps to provide.

“We had presentations from the Hope Enterprises and Tools for Self Reliance, which both help people in difficult and challenging circumstances.

“But the tour was also to make the minister aware that without this funding, many of these projects would never get off the ground.”

Chief executive of the Good Loaf in Overstone Road, the Mounts, Suzy Van Rooyen said the first six months of the upstairs cafe being open have been a great success.

As well as teaching ex-offenders baking skills, the venue, which is the trading arm of the charity C2C Social Activity, also runs a number of volunteering projects, a youth group and now sells bread wholesale to 17 different outlets across the town.

Its delivery van was paid for by the funding from the foundation.

Government minister Mr Wilson, who was joined on the tour by Northampton South MP David Mackintosh, added: “The Good Loaf does a whole range of different things in one building - you have the bakery, the cafe, and a youth club and it is done for the local community - that’s what I’m interested in supporting.”