A local charity, Free Cakes for Kids Bristol, offers a fantastic service providing birthday cakes at no charge to children whose families may be unable to provide one themselves.
Free Cakes for Kids Bristol was set up in 2011 as a Bristol & South Gloucestershire branch of a national network of groups Free Cakes for Kids groups. The original idea came from a similar project in the US, with the first UK group set up in Oxford in 2008.
“The reasons a family would benefit from our services can be anything ranging from poverty, refugee status, being a young carer, disabilities or anything else,” explained Isabelle Ballinger, the Area Organiser for Free Cakes For Kids Bristol. “The cakes are provided completely free of charge, with ingredients and time donated by our bakers. Our services are always friendly and confidential.
“We generally take cake requests through referrals from a partner organisation but we do take self referrals if family members or friends feel the service is needed and want to request a cake directly. Our partner organisations include charities and other community groups such as Aid Box Community, Ronald McDonald House and the Young Carers Support Centre and many more.
“To request a cake, the referrer should fill out a form on our website which will ask the details needed to make and deliver the cake. We ask if there is a particular flavour or theme the child would like and do our best to accommodate it. Once we have all of the information we need, we ask our network of bakers to find out who is available to bake and wants to take on the decoration challenge. The cake is then baked by the baker, with ingredients purchased themselves and delivered to the family, or partner organisation if the recipient would rather remain confidential.”
Free Cakes for Kids Bristol has a network of around 30 bakers based across Bristol and South Gloucestershire. “Anyone that wants to can be a volunteer baker with us is welcome to get in touch,” added Isabelle. “We range from keen home bakers to professional cake makers.
One local mum whose child received a cake from the charity, commented, “We both would love to say a massive thank you for the birthday cake. We were both so shocked as we weren’t expecting a cake like that. Both of us burst into tears. It made the day feel so special!”