A new social enterprise bakery in east London is revitalising both the local area and the employment prospects of many young people
The Dusty Knuckle is a social enterprise and bakery located in Dalston’s new Bootyard project. Founded by entrepreneurs Max Tobias, Becca Oliver and Daisy Terry, the bakery helps young people into employment. Their love of baking and desire to make a positive social impact is quite apparent in the passionate way Tobias talks about the business: “I really want to see young people changing their mentality and learn through coming to the Dusty Knuckle that they have a future and they can live a life that is fulfilling.”
The Dusty Knuckle, which specialises in traditional long fermentation breads, provides paid work positions for those furthest from the labour market. For Tobias, the motivation for the bakery is the direct result of 12 years’ experience as a social worker, which left him searching for another way to reach young people. Through the social enterprise he hopes to offer young people a meaningful future in which they are able to sustain themselves financially.
“I really want to see young people changing their mentality and learn through coming to the Dusty Knuckle that they have a future and they can live a life that is fulfilling.”
Speaking about the issues faced by the young people he supports, Tobias said: “I think for the kind of young people I want to reach, charity is perhaps no longer the right way to be looking at the problem. They don’t need charity, what they need is self-esteem and prestige, a feeling of self-sustainability.” He added: “We said from the start we wanted the goal to be paid employment for a period of time in which a young person could learn the relationship between pay and labour and what work actually means.”
In 2014 The Dusty Knuckle moved to their first premises, a shipping container in East London’s creative Bootstrap workspace. Talking about the move, Tobias said: “It was great. It’s enabled us to get started which I honestly don’t know if we’d have done [without their support]. Now the bakery has 18 wholesale customers and employs two full-time employees with another about to start.”
With the addition of a new service hatch and wooden tables outside the bakery, the venture has begun to transform the car park into a vibrant new area for the Bootstrap community. With the passion, commitment and ambition of the directors the future looks bright for the Dusty Knuckle.
This article was written by Mat Amp while taking part in the Big Issue online journalism programme with Poached Creative. To find out more visit their website.