There’s no shortage of incredible businesses in London who go above and beyond to support their local communities.
But there can’t be many who do quite as much as a North London bakery that’s just received an award for the support it has shown during the pandemic, after donating an incredible 10,000 loaves of bread and 20,000 hot cross buns to food banks.
Dunn’s Baker and Confectioner in Crouch End has been a family-run business for 200 years.
Lewis Freeman, 28, is the sixth generation to take the reins after his great-great-great-grandfather Robert came to London from Northamptonshire in 1820 on a hay wagon and started work as a baker in Highgate.
READ MORE: Crouch End residents baffled at electric shock ‘social distance zapper’ on sale in local post office
Dunn’s has been a family run business for 200 years
Today, happy customers write rave reviews about the bakery being “the best in town” and Lewis successfully opened a second shop in Muswell Hill in November during lockdown.
Community is at the heart of what the bakery does – from supplying food banks in lockdown to raising £1 million for The Children’s Trust through doughnuts and letting school kids come in to decorate baked goods.
“When local people support a local business, the local business supports them,” Lewis explained simply.
Dunn’s has a loyal customer base with generations of families coming to pick up their bread.
One memorable moment for Lewis was when a customer came in to tell the team she had found her parents’ wedding cake receipt from Dunn’s dating back to 1940.
Dunn’s had provided the cake and catering for the wedding – all for £9.10.
The bakery’s community spirit really showed during the peak of lockdown, when Dunn’s was donating over 200 loaves of bread a week to food banks in London, and other food banks would collect surplus produce from the bakery at the end of the day too.
It all started when the food banks got in touch asking if Dunn’s could help out.
Lewis didn’t hesitate to say yes, and got in touch with his flour suppliers to see if they would donate the flour so the bakery could donate time to baking the loaves.
With lockdown mostly over, Dunn’s still donates bread to food banks, but it has slowed down to around 80 loaves a week as demand has dropped.
Lewis and his bakery were recognised for their services to the community with an award from the Lord Mayor.
“I don’t do it for the award, I don’t have it framed on my wall or anything,” he said.
“But its always nice to have that recognition.”
Supporting the community is nothing new for Dunn’s.
Lewis’s father, Christopher, set up National Doughnut Week and it’s still running. The campaign encourages bakeries across the country to take part and every doughnut sold donates money to charity.
So far, they’ve raised £1 million for The Children’s Trust.
On a slightly smaller scale, Dunn’s donates 3,500 doughnuts to a local YMCA fun run every year so each finisher can enjoy a treat.
MyLondon’s brilliant new newsletter The 12 is packed with news, views, features and opinion from across the city.
Every day we’ll send you a free email at around 12pm with 12 stories to keep you entertained, informed and uplifted. It’s the perfect lunchtime read.
The MyLondon team tells London stories for Londoners. Our 45 journalists cover all the news you need – from City Hall to your local streets.
Never miss a moment by signing up to The 12 newsletter here.
You might have noticed a doughnut trend forming – Dunn’s is famous for its “absolutely smashing” jam doughnuts.
It is also known for its sausage rolls and sourdough bloomer.
Lewis said the key to the business’s 200 years of success was “to slowly evolve, but not deviate too far from the core”.
When asked whether the business would stay in the family, Lewis joked that there was no next generation yet.
“That’s too much pressure to be put on a child yet to be born!” he said.
But he’s proud of the business and won’t give it up.
He added: “When you go into running a family business you feel like a custodian rather than owner. I’m never going to sell it.”
To find out more about the bakery click here.