Thursday, 26 September 2013

everybody in Bristol loves cake

On one of our (many) Gromit Hunting Expedition days over the summer we encountered some wonderfully enthusiastic people in the Galleries, surrounded by cakes.  No matter what they were up to they were already a hit simply because of the cakes, and while I tucked into a generous slice of very yummy homemade bakewell tart Petal bragged to them about my amazing baking skills - I love that she takes such pride in something that I do, even though she is utterly biased - which of course I encourage with much emotional blackmail at each and every possible opportunity.  It turned out that they were publicising the Golden Gift Appeal, raising money for Bristol Hospitals.  We love the hospitals, having spent a fair amount of time in several of them between the five of us (okay, between Smiler and I),  and figured we'd have a go at trying to raise some money for them, particularly since cake was involved . . .

Petal was sold on the idea of a bake sale in about twelve seconds, chatting about organising a stand at school, and asking the students to buy a cake or biscuit.  After listening to the fundraising team explaining the importance of community, and perhaps inviting parents along to choose a cake too, Petal's thoughts travelled one station further along . . .

"You know how we have afternoon tea on Sundays..."
"...and how nice it is to sit up to the table and eat cakes and brownies and drink cups of tea..."
"...and how it's mostly people that are older that have afternoon tea..."
" you think we could invite some old people to school to sit up and have cakes and cups of tea have afternoon tea with us?"

So Petal and Noah wrote a letter to school, asking if they could host an afternoon tea, and invite parents, extended family, and various other (slightly random) individuals.  School said yes, so they got busy organising - and instructing me on what I needed to bake next!

Petal and Noah also invited local business owners to come along, craftily following up the invite with a back up plan - if they would be too busy to come then Noah and Petal would bring some cakes along to them afterwards! They also made arrangements with the local supermarket (Asda in Whitchurch) to host a stand there after school on Friday, to offer any remaining cakes to shoppers on a purely 'pay whatever you would like' basis.

So on Wednesday, it was time for the . . .

Smiler had, in his very own inimitable way, decorated plenty of labels, so I filled a few cake tins with an assortment of homemade brownies, lemon drizzle cake, chocolate & coconut cake, lemon & white chocolate cake, and spiced maple cake.  A proper mixture of Smiler's favourites, and he was beaming as he walked into the entrance of the primary site (having now been a secondary school student for all of two weeks).  Smiler helped set the cakes out in the staffroom, then back into the van and over to the secondary site, to set up in their staffroom too - the Briarwood Bake Sale was in business.

 . . . having spent all week worrying that either no one would bring cakes or else no one would come to buy the cakes, it turned out while there had been much baking going on in kitchens all over Hengrove . . .

Noah and Petal were puffed up with pride, arranging tables, setting out trays of cakes, writing out labels, and by 2pm we had a queue of parents waiting to come in. We had staggered the times the classes would attend, and when we let the parents in and had the first classes in we weren't sure what to expect, but everything went amazingly well - the response from families was fantastic. We had nans and baby brothers, step sisters and next door neighbours - Noah and Petal were taking money for the cakes, school staff were making hot drinks and handing out squash, various members of staff and pupils helped clearing tables in between sittings, teachers wrangled their classes while also enjoying cake. It was fantastic to see so many parents in school - as one of the 'deprived areas' you hear so much about, getting families in to school events isn't always as successful as one might like, but this was definitely an exception! After the families had finally finished up and left, school staff including teachers and LSAs helped clear up and pack away, then dropped us to Asda for the second shift!  

Noah and Petal, complete with aprons and bake off chef hats, started tempting shoppers with the remaining cakes and biscuits.  Once Mr Manley returned with Smiler from Briarwood Noah and Petal took it in turns to take trays to the local hairdressers, the chemist, the health centre and building society, all of which tucked in with gusto! 

So, on to the numbers. Smiler's bake off cake sale at Briarwood raised £16 - as it was purely Smiler's cakes (including some very yummy macaroons) being offered to staff, we thing this was fantastic. The Wrong Trouser Day money added to the Perry Court Afternoon Tea donations totalled £360 - a massive achievement, I'm sure you'll agree! Lastly, the stall at Asda combined with Noah and Petal's 'if you can't come to us then we'll come to you' mobile bake off tray raised another £106.

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