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Brewery partners with H.M.Pasties to give ex-offenders a second chance

Award-winning pies created by ex-offenders offer a fresh start and second chances.

In the heart of Manchester, Joseph Holt Brewery has been brewing exceptional beers and ales for six generations.

They have a strong association with offering ex-offenders a fresh start deeply rooted in their belief of giving people a second chance and contributing to their local communities.

Their commitment extends beyond their drinks, as they actively support ex-offenders through apprenticeships, in-prison careers talks, and partnerships with organizations like ‘Only A Pavement Away,’ which connects individuals in need with employment opportunities in prisons, veteran communities, and several homeless charities.

When Joseph Holt Brewery discovered an award-winning food company run by ex-offenders, a collaboration seemed like a natural fit.

The result: bespoke, award-winning pies that have already claimed gold medals in the Pub Pie category at the prestigious 2023 British Pie Awards.

These pies are the brainchild of Bolton’s H.M.Pasties, a social enterprise founded by ex-prisoner Lee Wakeham, who is dedicated to offering individuals with convictions a fresh start.

Jane Kershaw, the director of Joseph Holt Brewery and a sixth-generation member of the Holt family, explains the appeal of this joint venture: “We were already aware of the high quality of pies and pasties produced by Lee and his team.

“But what truly resonated with us was the alignment of values.

“H.M.Pasties is an incredible social enterprise, and we are proud to support a business that shares our commitment to giving people a second chance.

“By partnering with them, we not only support the local community but also reduce food miles as they source local, quality ingredients. And seeing our legendary bitter used in a pie is fantastic!”

Joseph Holt Brewery has long been dedicated to providing opportunities for individuals seeking a fresh start.

Their mission statement, “Come for a job, stay for a career,” drives their efforts to engage with prisons through employment days, offering advice and guidance to those interested in joining the hospitality industry.

Furthermore, they run apprenticeship schemes and collaborate with charities to assist individuals in rebuilding their lives after prison.

Jane Kershaw emphasizes, “H.M.Pasties was a perfect fit for us in terms of our shared goals.”

Founder Lee Wakeham, who himself had two spells in prison during his youth, expresses his delight at the success of their pies.

The steak pie, infused with carrots, onions, garlic, thyme, and tomato puree, has been reinvented with Joseph Holt bitter, adding depth and richness to the flavour.

The cheese pie, unlike many similar products, focuses on the cheese’s lusciousness rather than heavy potato content.

H.M.Pasties takes pride in sourcing homegrown ingredients from the prison estate, simultaneously providing employment opportunities for individuals with convictions.

The company offers mentoring support, empowering their employees to build new careers and lead a crime-free life.

Lee Wakeham explains, “Working with Joseph Holt was an obvious choice for us.

“We were drawn to their legendary beers and ales, but more importantly, we admired their strong ties to charitable causes and their commitment to helping ex-offenders rebuild their lives.

“With projects like apprenticeship schemes and prison collaborations, Joseph Holt shares our belief in uplifting those who have faced setbacks.”

Lee’s personal journey exemplifies the transformative power of therapy and determination.

After his release, he worked his way up from a factory worker to a sales manager.

In 2011, he began working with offenders as a resettlement worker and an employment coach, eventually establishing H.M.Pasties in 2019.

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