Free birthday cakes are being offered to children in Littlehampton whose families are unable to provide one themselves.
The new voluntary group Free Cakes for Kids Littlehampton has been set up by team leader Helen Bradshaw, as part of a nationwide network.
Low income is not the only criteria to qualify for a free cake, as Helen wanted to support all families in times of difficulty.
She explained: “I wanted to look at helping families who were going through a tough time, experiencing terminal illness, or having treatment for cancer, in hospital with long-term illness or bereavement.”
Helen is taking referrals through schools and will also be linking with My Sisters’ House CIC in Bognor Regis.
She has written to Littlehampton Academy offering 30 cakes over a year and to White Meadows Primary Academy, Lyminster, River Beach and St Catherine’s primary schools offering each 15 cakes through the year.
Helen said: “I have put in a lot of effort to get this going and to get people on board to be our volunteers.
“We have made one cake so far, for a family in Bognor. It is just a nice feeling inside that you have done something so simple but yet someone is getting so much happiness from it, and that is what it is all about.”
Having a career background in education, Helen has ensured all the paperwork is in place, covering health and hygiene certificates, safeguarding and GDPR, and the scheme has earned the top food hygiene rating of five.
What it needs now is clients, with a team of 14 volunteers ready and waiting to swing into action.
Helen, an at-home mum to four-year-old twins, first came across the Free Cakes for Kids network in the spring, though the national organisation was started back in 2008, copying an idea from America.
Helen said: “It has been slowly growing. There are guidelines but you can do it your own way, to suit your community.
“I did a bit of research to see if anyone else was already running in the area.”
Helen then had a stand at the Littlehampton Town Show in September and has been putting the word out on Facebook and Instagram, helping her to build her team. She also provided a cake for the launch of Littlehampton Community Fridge.
She said: “You don’t need a MasterChef style kitchen or all the gadgets, you just need clean surfaces. The idea is that we are home bakers, we are not Mary Berry.”
The group has been accepted by Voluntary Action Arun and Chichester, which means it can benefit from expert support.
The information families will need to provide is very limited, first names only and focusing mainly on any allergies, and drop-offs will be made either at school or in a public place, outside school hours.
Helen said: “The families will be chosen by the schools. It is not just for people on a low income. If we can step in and help, then that is something quite special.”
Find Free Cakes For Kids Littlehampton on Facebook for more information.