The founder of a bakery helping disadvantaged women has been awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to women and charity.
Alice Williams is the CEO of the Luminary Bakery which has trained and employed women experiencing violence and unemployment since 2013.
According to the organisation, 526,000 women are currently unemployed, with 124,000 living in London. In 2021 reports to the police of sexual offences against women were highest on record at 170,973 offences and there were 845,734 reported domestic abuse cases in England and Wales.
The bakery offers a free six-month traineeship in baking, employability communication and budgeting skills. There is an additional 18 months of support with health, housing, accessing services, trauma and job application help, followed by apprenticeships at the bakery.
Founder Alice said: “Meeting women experiencing extreme poverty, disadvantage, and violence was the inspiration for starting Luminary. Too often, violence and trauma isolate us from the community, when that is the very thing we need the most.”
In 2022 the organisation supported 114 women and provided work experience placements with 17 corporate partners. The business managed to give 200 per cent more hours of paid employment to the women than in 2021.
The bakery was awarded 37 accreditations in 2022, and won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2021.