Dozens gathered to see the second branch of a social enterprise cafe throw its doors open in Northampton town centre today.
The Good Loaf opened for its first day of trading at All Saints church following a ribbon cutting ceremony led by Lord Lieutenant David Laing.
The social enterprise bakery, based in Overstone Road, provides a work programme for women wanting to break the cycle of unemployment, offending and poverty.
And the fresh loaves popular at its Mounts-based will all be available at the new All Saints venue - alongside cafe the full menu of sandwiches, soups and cakes.
Chief executive of The Good Loaf Suzy Van Rooyen, said: “I’m really pleased that we have been able to enhance the work we are doing to support vulnerable women in the county with this new facility in the heart of Northampton at All Saints.
“Our work is based on strong partnerships and together, we can drive through improvements to the criminal justice system that help women, their families, and the
The new cafe has already provided four new paid jobs for women who have completed the six-work work programme at the Overstone Road site.
It will also deliver crisis services for women, with a particular focus on mental health. The service aims to reduce the number of women entering the criminal justice system and to break the cycle of offending.
The project, made possible thanks to a successful funding bid to the Ministry of Justice, is a collaboration between the probation service, Northamptonshire's police, crime and fire commissioner, Northampton's university and the NHS among other partners.
Father Oliver Coss, the rector of All Saints Church, said he was thrilled to see the Good Loaf taking over the cafe.
"The Good Loaf has a wonderful track record of changing the lives of women in Northampton that really need people to invest in them," he said.
"It really matches our Christian ethos.
"Every cup of coffee people buy will be helping to change lives."
A cafe has operated at All Saints Church for more than 30 years and the venue was previously run by Northampton mayor Councillor Tony Ansell.
Northamptonshire's police, fire and crime commissioner, Stephen Mold says the Good Loaf will make an important addition to the town centre.
He said: “The model that has been set by the Good Loaf has been extremely successful, providing support and intervention to help vulnerable women and their families and preventing
them from being drawn into further crime.
"I am very pleased that this amazing scheme is expanding and that the benefits it brings to the women, their families and the wider community are spreading more widely.”
A third branch of the Good Loaf - the first in the north of the county - will open in Kettering later this year.