Winter Lockdown plan

Thank you for your patience over the last couple of weeks. We’re happy to announce we’ll be re-opening on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th of February and pre-orders are being taken online from today.

Under the current Covid restrictions, we will be trading as follows:

  • We will be open Friday afternoon 12 – 4pm and Saturday morning 9am – 1pm.
  • All orders must be placed online as click-and-collect.
  • The cut-off for orders is midnight Wednesday evening.
  • Orders are collected in 20 minute time slots, limited to 10 people per slot.
  • You must wear a mask covering your nose and mouth when visiting our shop. If you cannot wear a mask, you can leave a note when ordering so we can accommodate this.


  • We will not be baking substantially more than is ordered, so please order everything that you need in advance. There won’t be extra bread on the shelves for now.
  • Baking equipment, flour and other ingredients are available on click-and-collect.
  • Other shop items can be bought when you collect.
  • Lunches are on hold for now.

Within Loaf we will be operating as follows:

  • The bakers have split into two smaller teams working one fortnight on, one fortnight off. Should one team be unable to work, the other team can cover.
  • Val will be running the shop, distanced from the bakers.
  • Pete is working from home managing orders and answering your emails, ready to cover Val if needed.
  • We will all be tested regularly where possible.
  • FFP2 / N95 masks will be worn in the building and when serving customers.

We will review this at the start of each month, with the aim of resuming our normal service when we can.

As with any new system built on the fly in this pandemic, there will be teething troubles, so thanks in advance for your patience! If you have any problems or questions, please let us know. Pete is monitoring the email every day and will get back to you.

Why are we doing this?

This is possibly too much detail, but we’re all figuring this out as we go and it might be useful to other businesses.

The severity of the new coronavirus strain and the risk it poses to our health and our jobs caused us to take stock after Christmas. Last year we relied on our industrial air extraction, hygiene systems, and maintaining a “Loaf work bubble” to keep us safe. With an increased transmission risk, however, it’s clear we need to do more.

The Loaf building is effectively a maze of corridors. Establishing a Covid-secure workplace with our full complement of staff is next to impossible, so we needed to reduce the number of people in the building at one time. The new system sees a maximum of three people spread across different rooms.

A safer working environment reduces our capacity and impacts the business, so we’re able to use the government’s furlough scheme. This is much more flexible this lockdown, allowing for part-time and short-term furloughs. This means we can rota the furloughs as teams and should one team test positive, pull the other back in without affecting production.

We were also getting more and more concerned about the queue which reached ridiculous lengths before Christmas. While most of you have been distancing, the amount of time you’re standing there increases the risk of transmission, especially on a windless day, so we need to do what we can to reduce that. It’s also horrible standing out there in the winter!

When you place your order you can select a time slot to collect. Each 20-minute slot is limited to 10 customers so you shouldn’t have to wait too long with too many people. Obviously if you’re late we’ll still serve you, but if you can keep to your slot it will help keep everyone safe.

If all goes to plan we should come out of this with everyone employed and the business in the black, ready for whatever this pandemic throws at us next!

Loaf’s Christmas Newsletter

A Big Thank You from Loaf

As one of the more challenging years in recent memory draws to a close we wanted to take this opportunity to thank all our friends, customers and associates for your support. 

Despite temporarily losing our cookery school, the heart of Loaf, we are ending the year financially in the black and with a cautiously optimistic outlook for 2021. That is ultimately down to you all buying our bread, pastries and lunches throughout the year. You queued for hours in the rain, forgave us the glitches as we overhauled our business on the fly, and gave us the positive feedback we needed to keep going through some exhausting times. 

Some of you have let us know that our food has been a small highlight during some dark and troubling moments. Please know that it goes both ways, and knowing that what we do matters to people is priceless. We have always called Loaf a “community bakery” and this year has really shown us what that means, how we can support the community and how the community can support us.

Fighting food poverty

A big change for Loaf this year was actively supporting those charities and organisations at the frontline of helping people affected by the pandemic. Mostly this has involved baking extra bread for schools and foodbanks to distribute to those in need. We asked for your financial help to pay for ingredients, and when donations dwarfed our costs we passed the money on. We’ve raised over £6,000, which has gone to the B30 Foodbank and Anawim women’s refuge. Both have asked us to pass on their thanks.

We will continue to raise money for local charities, aiming to work with them in the long term once our cookery school reopens. We’ll choose our charity for the first quarter of 2021 in the new year and we always welcome suggestions of other organisations to support. 

Building the future

The pandemic threatened to overshadow some exciting news for the future of Loaf. In April we formally announced our plans to buy and develop land between the British Oak and Hunts Road, joining with the Bike Foundry, Artefact Projects and local housing coops as Stirchley Cooperative Development. We’ve spent this year working with council officers to meet planning criteria and will be going before the planning committee in the new year. If all goes smoothly (and we’ve learned that it seldom does, but fingers crossed!), we should be moving into a custom-built new bakery and cookery school in Autumn 2022. 

An important part of this process was getting comments from the public in support of our plans. The response exceeded everyone’s expectations, raising some eyebrows among those familiar with these things. Planning applications are not supposed to get that sort of feedback! So another big thanks from all of us.   

Okay 2021, we’re ready for you

This year has really brought home the value of being a workers cooperative. Our non-hierarchical structure means we have an equal and collective responsibility for Loaf, sharing the burdens alongside the rewards. Collective decision making also means the pressure has not been focused on one person, and we’ve been able to help and support each other in making some difficult decisions. Nine heads really are better than one, and we’ll be putting them together again in the new year. 

Our Christmas shutdown is for three weeks this year. After our standard fortnight holiday we’ll be spending this extra week taking stock and planning for what promises to be another challenging year. We want to be less reactive to events and be ready for whatever the year throws at us, whether it’s six months of lockdown or a vaccinated wonderland. 

We hope you have the best Christmas possible.

Nancy, Martha, Neil, Sarah, Molly, Phil, Rach, Pete & Val – Team Loaf