H.M.Pasties came about in 2018 when ex-offender Lee Wakeham became determined to ‘bring out the good inside’ by employing other ex-offenders to make and sell delicious handmade Cornish-style pasties, and in doing so, opened ‘The Hatch‘ – the in-person pasty hatch where you can get your pies in Bolton. Now, with £300,000 of funding granted by Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), H.M.Pasties is set to move to a bigger space in Oldham.
Of course, this move will be a wonderful addition to the community in Oldham, although a loss for Boltonians. The loan will allow H.M.Pasties to expand the business, allowing the move to a new bakery, and substantial improvements to the new site, in order to improve automation and access larger wholesale customers.
The loan funding will also provide working capital support as the business grows. H.M.Pasties will shortly have 12 employees, and is forecasting eight new hires over two years, with a focus on providing sustainable employment for people with criminal convictions, alongside providing work experience for prisoners Released on Temporary License.
Oldham Council leader Arooj Shah responded to the news at the GMCA meeting on Friday: “I’m really pleased to support this, lots of people who know where my politics comes from know that I stand for people and support any form of help to those that have been through, unfortunately, the criminal justice system.
“I’m really pleased to see that they’re coming to Oldham too, at some point. I think those who have criminal records often find it difficult to get a job, and we know this, and they find it difficult to reintegrate into the community.
“Any opportunity that offers rehabilitation, we know, only strengthens society and these are the kinds of opportunities that H.M.Pasties offer, so really pleased to support it – can’t wait for them to come to Oldham, and I’ll be proudly going getting a pasty once they do.”
Leader of Bolton Council Nick Peel also had his say, expressing: “It is a really innovative way to highlight such important issues, and as Bolton waves goodbye to H.M.Pasties and wish them very well and all the best for the future in Oldham, we hope that out pasty and pie trade isn’t damaged too much.”
And of course, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham also put in his two cents, joshing: “Well, I think you [Bolton] […] would have a shout to pasty capital […] I think it’s fair to say.” On behalf of all Boltonians, we say, thanks, Andy.
He continued: “So, it is a great proposal for the reasons given, they employ a number of ex-offenders, it’s a great business to support, and I think in moving, they do have possibilities of becoming a much bigger supplier to key venues in the city region. So it’s a good move for them, and for Oldham, but we appreciate Bolton’s gracious approach.”
We’ll be sad to see H.M.Pasties move, but there’s sure to be great things for them in Oldham, and here’s to getting ex-offenders back on their feet, and feeding the many with tasty pasties.