A DARLINGTON man has used his redundancy to kickstart his dream of opening his own bakery in the heart of town.

Dan Booth has dedicated the past five years to becoming the best baker he could be.

The 34-year-old, who has been head baker at Clervaux Artisan Bakery and Cafe on Coniscliffe Road for the past four years, was slowly working towards opening his own community-orientated bakery. He was in the process of applying for grants when coronavirus hit and funding was diverted for Covid-19 relief.

The baker, then faced with redundancy as Clervaux closed its bakeries across the country, launched a crowdfunding campaign and raised £8,000 for Bakerman.

Bakerpeople, trading as Bakerman, is a community interest company whose profits will go back into serving the community by offering six-week work experience schemes to 18 to 25-year-olds who need additional support to get them into the workplace.

The sourdough expert, who believes the pandemic will support his business goals and not hinder them, said: “It is my passion to bake. It’s a magical pursuit, you are transforming flour and water into something completely different. I have seen first hand its therapeutic qualities, baking is a great tool for rehabilitation.

“There’s plenty of demand in Darlington for good and real bread too.

“People are becoming more interested in where their food comes from, shortening its mileage and shopping local. Now it’s my job to get people interested in real bread – without any additives or preservatives.”

Transforming a former “clinical” beauty salon in Clark’s Yard with the help of his dad and brother, Bakerman will open its doors on September 19 and offer a range of sourdough and sweet treats.