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Baking a Brighter Future for Women

Last week Jackie Wilkes, Philanthropy Manager at the Foundation, spent the morning visiting Bramber Bakehouse in Brighton with one of our Fundholders.

With a room full of people wearing aprons and being taught how to make apple brioche buns, you could be forgiven for thinking that this was some jokey team outing to replicate bread week on Bake Off but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Several times a year Lucy Butt, the CEO and co-founder of Bramber Bakehouse, and her team hold open mornings at the Community Kitchen in Brighton. Sarah, one of our fundholders, Pamela Stiles (trustee at the Foundation) and I were lucky enough to have the opportunity to join one of these sessions and see for ourselves the amazing work that Bramber Bakehouse is doing.

Pamela Stiles, trustee at the Foundation, at Bramber Bakehouse
Jackie Wilkes, Philanthropy Manager, in a Bramber Bakehouse apron

Many of the women referred to Bramber Bakehouse have experienced abuse, exploitation and trauma and require additional support to move forward. Baking is used as a therapeutic tool alongside integrated wellbeing sessions – a combination which equips women with practical skills that can help with employment and/or volunteering opportunities as well as the strategies they can use to manage their mental health and wellbeing. 

Two graduates of the programme were brave enough to speak to us about their experiences and how the 8-week course had been life changing. 

Their stories were both harrowing and uplifting as they explained how the time at Bramber Bakehouse had given them the confidence to trust people again and feel a sense of hope about the future. They explained how their confidence had grown and with it a feeling of agency and self-belief.

Sarah who came with me, is one of our fundholders who has supported this project, so it was particularly special for her to see firsthand the difference her money had made. We call these “seeing is believing” visits but we actually left with a sense of disbelief that something as everyday as baking could be such a powerful catalyst for change. 

Find out more about Bramber Bakehouse.

Read more about people our grants have helped.

Published on 19th Oct 2023

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