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‘Brewkery’ Social Enterprise Plans To Expand

March 22, 2023

A social enterprise that supports people with learning disabilities by teaching them baking and brewing beer is planning to expand.

Equal Brewkery in Norwich has just been given an old caravan which they hope to renovate and take to local fairs and markets.

Since it started in 2017, it has supported more than 100 vulnerable adults and is run by volunteers.

Founder Bill Russell said: “It’s working well at the moment but we survive on the goodness of people.”

The enterprise, on Ipswich Road, is a combination of microbrewery and bakery and it teaches people with learning disabilities how to produce beer and bread with the aim that they go on to get a job or live more independent lives.

All profits from the sales of the goods go back into the organisation and the Co-op has started stocking one of the beers in eight of its local shops.

Mr Russell, a former head teacher, had the idea after suffering a stroke in 2015.

“I was in a hospital and I thought about what happens to people when they’ve had injuries and the like and I thought I can brew and I can teach so I can give something back,” he said.

The 71-year-old said it has been a success but he wanted to expand.

“We don’t have enough spaces for the people who want to come,” he said.

Fairless Masterman, one of the volunteers who works and Equal Brewkery, said it was “unlike anything I’ve done before”.

The 69-year-old retiree, who has been there for four years, said he worked with adults with a range of disabilities and the classes “build up their understanding” of the baking and brewing processes.

“It’s very rewarding; it’s never unenjoyable,” he said.

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