Project D offers a community service and brings staff back to work

Project D offers a community service and brings staff back to work

A Derby doughnut firm which furloughed all its staff at the onset of the coronavirus outbreak reinstated them all a week later after changing its business model to support the community.

The company, which previously sold handcrafted doughnuts at events and kiosks in Derby’s Intu centre and Burton’s Cooper’s Square, furloughed all their staff when the outbreak began.

But such was the demand for Project D’s doughnuts and their ingredients that they quickly brought staff back to work and have even recruited three more bringing their workforce to 28.

Not only is the company delivering doughnuts direct to households, but they been operating pop-up stands at locations across the city with hundreds of customers queuing to buy yeast, flour, eggs which are still proving hard to get hold of in supermarkets.

And the firm has not just saved jobs, it has also donated 5,000 eggs to Derby Foodbank and 250 doughnuts to staff at Royal Derby Hospital.

Co-owner Max Poynton said: “At the start of the outbreak we were delivering eggs just to pay our bills, but people were still asking for doughnuts, so we set up a website so we could start delivering them as well.

“Then we spoke to Derbyshire Police and Derby City Council about the logistics of setting up pop-up stands – and they were happy to support us because we are following all the correct social distancing rules.

“We feel as if we are offering a real service to the community by selling our ingredients and the feedback we are getting from people is so positive and supportive, people are genuinely grateful.”

So far, Project D has operated pop-up stands in Chaddesden, Spondon, Draycott, Chellaston, Melbourne, Rolls Royce and have plans for more in Belper, Duffield, Long Eaton, Burton, Mickleover, Ashby and Swadlincote. 

Each pop-up stand is announced on the day itself via the company’s Instagram page – which has seen followers increase to 19,000.

Max added: “I think little indulgencies like doughnuts are more important than ever before and people have time on their hands, so they don’t mind waiting. Plus, they are queuing outside, so it’s a healthier environment than a shop.

“We know that people find it hard to get flour, yeast and eggs so it made sense to sell these too so that people can make their own bread, pizzas and cakes.

“We worked incredibly hard to get our business off the ground and we couldn’t just sit back and let all our efforts go to waste. It feels good to be providing a service to the community and we’re really pleased we were able to give staff their jobs back.”

  • Project D will be at The Strutt Arms car park, in Milford on Saturday between 11am and 4pm and  The Jinnie Inn, in Rolleston-on-Dove on Sunday between 11am and 3pm.
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