Kids Snack Packs

During the summer holidays we’ll be giving away packs of snacks for children who are missing free school meals.

Packs are available at the Loaf counter from 12 noon Tuesday to Friday on the following dates.

closedWed 26 JulyThu 27 JulyFri 28 July
Tue 1 AugWed 2 AugThu 3 AugFri 4 Aug
Tue 8 AugWed 9 AugThu 10 AugFri 11 Aug
closedclosedclosedFri 25 Aug
Tue 28 AugWed 29 AugThu 30 AugFri 1 Sep

Packs will contain the following:

  • Two snack bars
  • An apple
  • Carton of fruit juice
  • Crisps

Parents / guardians do not need to pre-order. We will have 20 packs available each day.

We do not have any funding to support this (though we are looking into it for next year). If you are able and would like to donate some money to cover the cost of the food you can do so online here or at the counter. Thank you.

Children going hungry in a developed country is a choice made by our society. If you think we should make a better choice, please let your MP know.

You raised £650 for SIFA Fireside

Between January and June we were taking donations on behalf of SIFA Fireside, the homelessness charity in Digbeth. We rounded up your generosity and just transferred £650 to their account. Thank you!

Eppie, their fundraising lead, said: “Your support has been incredible especially whilst so much has been going on. This is an amazing donation we are seriously so grateful to Loaf and your customers.”

Birmingham LGBT is our charity for the rest of 2023

We’re delighted to announce that Loaf is fundraising for Birmingham LGBT from July through to the end of the year. This is an important cause for us, both as individuals and as a co-operative, and when looking for an organisation to support we were drawn to the work Birmingham LGBT does in counselling and mental health. This is apparently a hard area to fundraise for from the usual sources so individual donations and sponsorships are key to providing services. Here’s James, their development manager:

As Birmingham’s leading charity advocating for and supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities in Birmingham and the West Midlands, we offer a range of services focused on improving the health and wellbeing of individuals, including:

  • sexual health promotion services
  • older people’s services
  • a domestic violence service
  • volunteering
  • befriending and peer mentoring
  • arts and cultural programmes
  • counselling and wellbeing support

A small £12 donation provides a safe meeting space for an hour for an LGBTQ+ community group to socialise, share ideas and have fun without fear of discrimination. We have over 20 groups who meet regularly at the centre, ranging from film clubs to support groups.

Just £25 provides a one-hour session with a counsellor or a domestic violence advocate, helping LGBTQ+ people to live an authentic life free from abuse and self-doubt.

And £120 pays for a three-hour trans youth group, fostering a fun, welcoming and inclusive environment for trans young people. Our support makes it possible for them to make new friends who share their experiences, and explore their identity in a safe space. A survey of the members of the group showed 100% had made new friends as a result, almost 90% said it had boosted their confidence and almost 75% said it had helped improve their self-esteem.

You can make a donation online with your order or in store at the counter.

As well as raising money we hope to work with Birmingham LGBT to raise awareness of their work through this newsletter and our shop, so watch for more!

SIFA Fireside fundraising update

We’ve been taking donations for the homelessness charity SIFA Fireside since the start of 2023 and have raised £300 so far. Thanks to everyone who’s been able to donate — it’s really appreciated.

They’ve recently remodelled how they give support to those experiencing homelessness in Birmingham and this blog post gives a nice sense of what donations go towards providing.

They also post a lot to their Instagram, often highlighting the specific things they’re short of, from tins of beans to volunteers.

You can make cash donations with your online order at the checkout or at the shop counter through to the end of June. Thank you!

Over £250 raised for the B30 Food Bank

We’ve been taking donations online and at the counter for the B30 Food bank and during September and October you gave £257.62 in cash, plus loads of packaged food and toiletries that we didn’t get a chance to quantify.

We get regular thank you emails from the food bank but it’s all due to you, our customers, so, on behalf of the B30 Food Bank, thank you!

Here’s a list of what’s urgently needed.

Volunteering at Cotteridge Park

When we decided to support the Friends of Cotteridge Park we were interested in doing three things. Firstly, we took donations through our website and at the counter. You gave a total of £576, which will go towards keeping activities in the park free to access for everyone in the community.

Secondly, we wanted to help promote the park to our few thousand customers and newsletter readers. Hopefully you’ve been inspired to go along to an event for the first time, or just use the park more often.

Thirdly — and most importantly — we wanted to encourage you to give your time. The park is run by volunteers and many hands make lighter work. To this end Dorit has written about her time working as a volunteer at The Shed. We’ve also asked Emma, chair of the Friends, to outline all the ways you might get involved.

What it means to volunteer at The Shed

Before joining Loaf, Dorit volunteered at The Shed, the café and community hub in Cotteridge Park. We asked her to talk about why she got involved and what she got out of the experience.

Having moved to Birmingham from Germany during a pandemic I barely saw any actual English people for the first six months of living here. My social life only began in April 2021 at a SwingFit session in Cotteridge Park. I‘d never seen so many English speaking people in once place and it was quite overwhelming after so many months.

I moved here with my husband in late 2020 and took online courses in the language since my English school lessons were far too long ago. But, oh dear, there are worlds between Brummie English and what I have learned!

After the SwingFit session with many lovely people, we got a tea and I saw the sign ‘Volunteers needed’. I had a brief talk with Emma about what it meant to be a volunteer and started helping for a few hours once a week.

Since I used to work in a shop back home, it seemed best for me to volunteer in The Shed, the community building where people can have a coffee, eat some cake or just sit down for a while and enjoy the park.

If working in The Shed isn‘t your thing, there are many more ways to get involved. Volunteers do gardening activities, organise the CoCoMAD festival or help at the forest school. They also need people to take care of their website, social media, marketing, help with accounts and finances … Everything helps. How about doing some laundry from the café or picking up litter? Or maybe you have some skills to share with other volunteers, like knitting.

There are always new things to try at Cotteridge Park, such as drawing, bike polo, woodcarving… All of these and much more wouldn‘t be possible without those highly engaged volunteers.

I felt like I‘ve got something back every time I worked my shifts, and the gratitude of the visitors and the other volunteers was very encouraging. I‘m sure volunteering at The Shed helped me a lot when I applied for my job at Loaf as it was my only work experience in UK.

I quickly made many new friends and was made very welcome in this new community. When my flight home to Germany was cancelled due to Covid I spent Christmas with friends I’d made at The Shed.

Now I work full time at Loaf, I haven’t have the time to volunteer as much. But my husband and I are moving closer to the park, which feels like home to me, so I hope to be able to volunteer again. It’s where I started becoming a Brummie, after all!

Watch this lovely video about The Shed and the people who volunteer there

How to volunteer your time in Cotteridge Park

by Emma Woolf, chair of the board of trustees.

Cotteridge Park has been benefiting from the love and time given by volunteers since it was saved from closure by and for the community in 1997. The volunteers are the most amazing bunch of kind and generous people without whom the park would be a much lesser place.

Whatever you are interested in, and however much (or little) time you can give, there is always a way for you to help out. Here are 10 ideas to start you off, but we’re open to all suggestions.

  1. Join The Shed volunteers — like Dorit did
  2. Join the gardeners who meet on Tuesdays at 10 and Sundays at 10.15 (from mid September — currently on their summer break)
  3. Help plan and run events — such as CoCoMAD or the film screenings
  4. Help raise funds — by running events or writing funding applications
  5. Help maintain the website and social media
  6. Join the trustees to help with the legal and financial stuff
  7. Share a skill — the Bike Polo, Knit and Natter, and the Art Group are run by people with skills to share
  8. Create merchandise that could be sold to benefit the park
  9. Help find technical and sustainable solutions to make the park a better place for people and nature
  10. Or just pick up any litter you find when you walk round the park — litter picker and bin bags available.

We find volunteers get as much, if not more, than they give and find the experience rewarding in many ways. If this sounds like something you’d like to try, pop down to The Shed for a chat or fill in the volunteer form on the website.

Thank you!

B30 Foodbank update

Every Thursday we bake extra bread and bag any leftovers to be collected by the B30 Foodbank on Friday mornings. It’s usually somewhere between 30 and 60 loaves and they get distributed to people in need by the dedicated team of volunteers at the food bank warehouse.

They got in touch this week with an update which we thought we’d pass on verbatim. We can afford to give the bread away every week because of the volumes you buy, so it’s really you, our customers, who should be thanked.

Dear All at Loaf,

Thank you so much for your recent kind donations of food to the B30 Foodbank.

As you probably know we are a completely voluntary organisation, supported by the Trussell Trust. We rely solely on donations from organisations and generous supporters such as yourselves to provide for people, including families, within our local community who, for whatever reason, find themselves in immediate crisis, and are therefore going without.

Just to give you an idea of the scale of the work we do at the B30 Foodbank: during 2021 we gave out 95,257kg of food to feed 6,770 people (of whom 2,307 were children) across 3,340 households. Unfortunately we noticed a significant rise in the number of families requiring help in 2021 and with the anticipated increases in the cost of living we expect this trend to continue as 2022 progresses.

Should you wish to learn more and keep up to date with the work of the B30 Foodbank please visit us on our website, Facebook or Twitter.

We would like to reiterate how important your donation will be in helping us to make a real difference to individuals and families who would otherwise go hungry — and on their behalf we thank you wholeheartedly once again for your generous support.

Kind regards,

The B30 Foodbank Volunteer Team

Paska bread for Ukraine

We were given the recipe for Paska bread by a Ukrainian customer while talking about how we at Loaf can help the relief efforts. Rachel had a go at making them and we sold them on the Saturdays before both western and eastern Easter weekends raising £130 for the DEC appeal.

We were also happy to support the exhibition, We Are Here: From Ukraine, chronicling the experiences of faculty and students of Kyiv University of Technologies and Design who were on an Erasmus exchange in Birmingham when the war broke out. The show runs at Artefact until May 7th – please do check it out and pick up one of their lovely tote bags.

Cotteridge Park is charity of the quarter… again!

The last couple of months have been really busy at Loaf and we weren’t able to properly support and promote our nominated charity, Friends of Cotteridge Park. So we’re going to keep them on through to the summer and the annual CoCoMad festival.

You can continue to give donations with your pre-orders and at the counter in store. And as spring turns into summer we’ll be drawing your attention to the many things going on in the park and how you can get involved.

What’s on at Cotteridge Park?

This quarter we’re raising money for Friends of Cotteridge Park. FoCP puts on a wide range of events throughout the year which are free to all, ensuring no one in our community is excluded from trying something new that might improve their physical or mental wellbeing.

Here’s the current weekly calendar.

While volunteers go a long way to keeping things free, there are inevitable financial costs – which is where you can help, either by donating when you buy at Loaf or through their JustGiving page.

Over £1,000 raised for Migrant Help

Loaf customers raised a total of £1,086.50 for Migrant Help in the last quarter of 2021, which is a fantastic sum. Thanks to all of you who were able to donate! The charity sent us the following to pass on:

Please extend our appreciation of support to all your customers. We are really overwhelmed by the generosity of the local community supporting local causes that affect us all locally and nationally.

This kind donation is going to help newly arrived asylum seekers living in initial accommodation who are feeling really isolated, and will go along way in supporting them and putting a lot of smiles on their faces.

We had our big planning meeting last week and working with Migrant Help again in the future is definitely on the cards. Watch this space!

Introducing Friends of Cotteridge Park

If you live in or near Stirchley, you’ll doubtless be aware of Cotteridge Park, one of the many green gems of suburban Birmingham. But unlike most of our neighbourhood parks, Cotteridge is run by volunteers since being saved by local people from closure in 1997.

Friends of Cotteridge Park is the charitable organisation that runs all the activities and co-ordinates volunteer work at the park, including an annual festival and the new Shed cafe hub.

We asked them to write a bit about what they do:

The volunteers at Cotteridge Park are passionate about our little park in the heart of our community. The Friends of Cotteridge Park work tirelessly to improve the park’s infrastructure, and to provide services and activities that meet the needs of local people.

In any given week you’ll find Tai Chi, arts courses, youth workers, gardening, conservation and walking groups, and much more. The Shed opened in 2020 and is the hub for our activities and a friendly place to grab a cup of coffee too.

Oh, and then there’s CoCoMAD – the best little festival in Birmingham, where we celebrate Music, art, dance and science from our community and beyond.

In order to provide all this, and more, we are constantly fundraising. We have a principle that all our activities are free at the point of delivery so no one is excluded because they can’t afford to attend. This means we need donations to keep us going. We’re truly grateful for anything you can give to support our work.

And if you can give your time – even if it’s just an hour – you would be welcomed with open arms.

Contact us at: / And we’re on facebook, twitter and instagram

You can donate with your online orders or at the counter. And over the Spring we’ll be featuring a few of the things you might want to get involved with yourself.