We are continually looking for ways to enhance the life skills and opportunities for the young people at Prior’s Court and we are very excited to announce our ambitious plans to launch a commercial, self‐sustaining bakery providing real employment opportunities for young people with severe autism.

As one of the UK's leading autism charities, we have always had high expectations of the achievements of our young people, but the launch of our latest project is our most ambitious project yet and will be the first of its kind in the UK. The bakery will be on site and will be led by a Master Baker with a workforce of Prior's Court young people.   

Valuable work opportunities

As the National Autistic Society’s campaign has highlighted, only 16% of people with autism are in full time employment across the spectrum. For those with severe autism and learning difficulties there are even fewer work opportunities.  Prior’s Court has always had a commitment to building work skills and currently 75% of our 16‐25 age group have at least one work placement onsite or offsite with the support of the local community.

We work to unlock the potential of our young people by being ambitious in our aims and in the strategies we use to ensure they achieve in every area of their lives,”

commented Mike Robinson, Chief Executive of Prior’s Court,

but this project is our most ambitious yet. Through the bakery we will provide real jobs and build skills for life and we hope this will enable us to increase the number of people with autism in employment.  

Young person learning to bake with Steve Fudge, Master BakerWe have been in consultation with experts in the baking industry to research not just the financial viability but also the suitability of the baking processes to the strengths, interests and needs of young people with autism. The bakery can accommodate a wide range of skills, our young people respond positively to practical, routine tasks and they find baking and food preparation motivating and rewarding. 

Steve Fudge (pictured) is a trained confectioner with a passion for biscuits having been part of the successful family bakery Thomas J Fudge's; he has been an invaluable support to the project and recently took part in some baking sessions with our young people.

Following Steve's first visit to Prior’s Court he was keen to help:

The strengths of baking are seen in the tactile experience of baking bread, that it is easy to understand and it relies on routine activities which can be established and learned.  There is a massive amount of joy in baking and that is experienced from children through to adults and across the whole spectrum of needs.  Bread making carries on throughout life and the experiences stretch across society. 

Utilising this unique combination of specialist knowledge and best practice in both baking and autism fields, the bakery will establish a structured, autism‐friendly environment producing high quality, organic baked produce. For sale initially in the local community, the charity’s aim is to go beyond this with bread on the shelves of national supermarkets and a model that can be replicated.  As CEO Mike Robinson explains:

We want to create a team of bakers with real skills and a product that tastes great. We want to challenge perceptions and raise the bar for autism employment.” 

Local BBC News support

The launch of our Appeal was supported by local BBC News, who visited Prior's Court to film our young people and staff training as well as interviewing staff and Ian Murray, dad to one our our young people about the importance of the project to young people at Prior's Court, as well as the wider autism community:

Support our Appeal

We are committed to providing real work opportunities for young people with severe autism and would welcome your support. The total cost of the venture is £350,000 and to help us meet these costs we have launched a fundraising Appeal. You can read more about the project and why we are fundraising in detail here.

Please help us reach our target by donating here or below. Thank you!

Prior's Court bakery is creating an environment that actually works with people with autism, that recognizes their disability but also their specialist skills...

Prior's Court parent, October 2017.