Most people would have you believe that Anfield is nothing but the home to a ground where a football is kicked back and forth. How wrong.

It would seem as if the spirit of Shankly has overflowed from the arena to the streets where a dedicated few are at the forefront of a renaissance. Metal shutters over shops, abandoned factories and derelict buildings are a sight all too common, especially in North Liverpool areas. It isn’t the information regarding this that is important, it is what you do with it. Welcome to Homebaked Anfield – the shop shaping a whole community. One pie at a time.

Homebaked Anfield is a community run, cooperative bakery that opened on Oakfield Rd in Anfield a few years ago. It is based in the old Mitchells, which had been a bakery for over a hundred years. After Mitchells closed, the Biennial used the bakery as a base for an arts project working with young people to explore ‘Living Well’. People kept knocking on the door and asking when the bakery was re-opening, so a group of local people got together, launched a kickstarter and reopened the bakery in 2013 with an oven in the heart of Anfield donated by individuals from as far away as Alaska. And the story of the community owned bakery business began. And what a story it turned out to be.

What differentiates Homebaked Anfield from any other bakery is that it is owned by their members, governed by a board comprising local people and managed by their Operations Manager Luke and his senior team. The bakery and café is a warm welcoming space, serving freshly made good quality food at reasonable prices. The chef Stephan describes Homebaked as an oasis of fresh food in a fast food desert and that pretty much sums them up. They bake fresh bread every morning and sell it at an affordable price. They are a meeting place for the local community in all its forms, from their pensioner regulars who stop by for a cuppa and a chat, to Mums calling in with their children for a homemade cake after school, to local builders who buy breakfast or lunch from them and football fans from across the globe for whom they are an integral part of their match day rituals.

We caught up with Sally-Anne, one of the directors:

“Thanks to investment from Power to Change our pie making business has grown significantly and we now produce 2000 pies a week, employ 14 people in good quality jobs and supply five other independent businesses across the city. We are regulars at Granby Street Market, Lark Lance Farmers Market, Baltic Farmers Market and Hope Street Makers Market. We have lots of regulars who come to the markets, buy our pies and chat with us about our business.

Every home game we provide 700 mini pies to LFC, who serve them at half time in their directors and executive lounges. All their staff are trained in telling our story and the partnership we have with the club. We also supply our alternative buffet lunch of pie bags to companies & organisations across the city and provide a Pay Day Pie Day delivery service to staff at colleges, offices & other work places. Our More Than a Loaf course, where 8-10 people become bakers for a night as  we teach them to make bread & pizza is now running one night a week and we have supported lots of local organisations deliver against their social aims.

We are so much More Than A Pie and have proved that you can create a successful community owned business in a place where lots of people said it would never work. But we nearly lost it all when we were broken into after a game and our takings were stolen. Without the support of the 200 people who donated through our Crowdfunder, Colu and in the shop, we wouldn’t have been able to pay the team’s wages. In an effort to support getting them back on their feet Colu encouraged their users to send Homebaked a couple of pounds through the app. Over £150 was raised from that campaign.

Thanks to the generous people of Liverpool and beyond, we paid the wages, we survived and we are building for the future. For us the bakery is just the beginning, we plan to use everything we’ve learnt over the past four years to create a social high street alongside the bakery.”

Upon visiting Homebaked Anfield it’s impossible not to notice the unconscious assimilation of their grand ideas enter your own psyche. It’s a tasty reminder of the sheer power of people and how just a few people can change their landscape around them forever. All whilst knocking out the best pie you’ll ever have. The difference is they’re making is phenomenal. From the days it’s virtually impossible to distinguish between employee and customer to the match days where people from around the world queue around the block – there’s nowhere quite like Homebaked.

video by Ethos

In a way, Homebaked Anfield is a hedonistic and peaceful protest. It is a reminder that the people who live in the area day in, day out know what’s best for them. For us, Homebaked Anfield is a reminder to slow down – the baking version of stopping and smelling the flowers. You can be oblivious to what is nestled around the corner if you aren’t actively seeking. Brick by brick, loaf by loaf, Homebaked Anfield built themselves and we’re all better off as a result of it.

Don’t forget to use your Independent Liverpool card when you’re next in for a free tea or coffee with any pie or pay in your local Liverpool pounds. Download the Colu app here.