We are also lucky to have the support of an advisory board, who have a great deal of expertise between them which we have the benefit of.
As a Loaf advisor Russ is a key part of the team, offering commercial and property legal work on a pro bono basis, and general legal and marketing advice; “It’s nice to see that my legal and business skills are being put to tangible, positive use to support an enterprise that is trying to do things differently.”
Russ lives near Stirchley and has an interest in food and cooking, first discovering Loaf in the early days when the cookery school ran from the home of Tom and Jane Baker. After attending a Bread: Simply Sourdough course Russ has gone on to complete eight Loaf courses so far, including butchery, seafood and kitchen essentials courses.
Learning to cook at school, with a home economics teacher as a parent, and having once run a cheese shop, Russ says “I am concerned about the lack of basic cookery skills and food knowledge in the population as a whole. I believe that, apart from cookery on the TV, the only way to teach this properly is at a local level”. And that’s where Loaf comes in.
Michelle is the Operations Director at mac, a pioneering arts centre in Birmingham. Michelle brings to Loaf a broad range of project management skills and experience, from trading (catering, conferencing, retail) to customer services, and from sales and information to building and technical services. Her knowledge of human resources, health and safety and operational venue management have also contributed greatly to the successful development and growth of Loaf as a business serving our local community.
Having lived in Stirchley for nine years, Michelle first discovered Loaf in 2010 rolling up her sleeves for her first cookery school experience on the Bread: Back to Basics course. Since then she has gone on to complete nine Loaf courses including sourdough bread, butchery, seafood, preserving, foraging and pasta courses, and entered her marmalade in the World Marmalade Awards!
Michelle is a strong supporter of Loaf’s social aims: “The mix of teaching key cooking skills in a social – and really enjoyable – environment, providing a bakery with a strong link to the local community, creating quality produce, and having a strong ethical approach to developing the Social Enterprise really appeals to me”. In return Michelle says she has also learnt some valuable lessons from Loaf during her time as a Director, customer and as part of the Loaf family.
Jane has a background in marketing and photography in the charity and arts sector, and is a freelance documentary photographer and writer. Formerly Marketing Manager at Loaf, she now works for Garden Organic in Ryton in addition to her freelance work. She is a keen gardener, lover of food, and of course Tom’s wife! Jane has been proud to see Loaf develop from it’s small beginnings in their home to the successful high street cookery school and bakery that it is today.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to former Loaf directors Tim and Ria Evans who were instrumental in the planning, development and success of Loaf in the early days, and it’s transition to Stirchley high street.