Cooperativa Sociale 181 scs and Il Mattarello are the children born from the experience of DIAPSI Vercelli which, along with the Coffee Bag kitchen, has for some years been offering employment opportunities to people suffering from mental illnesses.
Collaborating with local training agencies, cooperative members can follow a training course, including an internship in the cooperative itself, where people are followed by the Chief Pastry Chef, who has been entrusted with the running of the pastry kitchen.
Cooperativa Sociale 181 scs arose from a project started almost thirty years ago: in the 1980s the first social cooperatives were established in Italy to give work to people who could benefit from law 180/78, the so-called Basaglia law.
Dedicated to the many true stories of that era, in 2008 “Si può fare” came out, a film directed by Giulio Manfredonia and starring Claudio Bisio, The cooperative referred to in the film was Cooperativa 180.
With the aim of going beyond "law 180", there emerged the idea of creating a social cooperative seeking to re-place its members in the labour market, using the confectioner's as a means of overcoming prejudices, regaining self-confidence and confidence in the local community.
"Il Mattarello" craft biscuit factory is the first Italian biscuit maker to base its business on the work of people suffering from mental health problems: a social entrepreneurship project that was created with the aim of helping people with mental difficulties to find work and provide them with the necessary tools to regain lost confidence.
The idea behind Biscottificio Artigianale Il Mattarello is simple: to help people who have had to face almost insurmountable difficulties. Practising the pastry art, these people can regain confidence in themselves and in their abilities.
At the same time, the Biscottificio promotes self-support through the sale of its products, both from the pastry kitchen, to which a welcoming shop is annexed, and through a distribution network aimed at other retailers, in Italy and Europe.
The Cooperative's central role is to combine the art of the confectioner and biscuit making with the ability to create social development and employment opportunities for disadvantaged people suffering from mental problems. The challenge is to preserve a relevant space in the market and, at the same time, to put the individual first, making the product a creative expression of oneself and of a re-found bond with the community.
This project, based on economic sustainability through direct retail sales at the Vercelli sales point, places at the centre of its production recipes typical of the Vercelli area, sometimes revisited with a touch of modernity.
Il Mattarello craft biscuit factory is a project developed by Cooperativa Sociale 181 scs together with Caritas Eusebiana of Vercelli and youngsters of the Policoro Vercellese Project.