People's Projects win puts bakery on rocky road to success
Simon Tomlinson is a bit of a ‘chocoholic’, so working in the kitchen at JubyLee Bakes Kitchen – a project in West Sussex supported with National Lottery funding – suits him down to the ground.
Simon, 27, said, “My favourite bakes are chocolate things like brownies, tiffins and rocky road and sometimes I do sneak a little taste.”
Simon, who has a learning disability and autism, is part of a dedicated team of bakers making delicious treats at a purpose-built kitchen in Thakeham. His fellow bakers either have a learning disability, autism, down's syndrome or a non-specified developmental disorder. By making an array of delicious tray bakes – the team’s top-sellers include brownies, tiffins, raspberry crumble and lemon drizzle – they gain valuable work experience and a boost to their self-confidence.
Simon’s mother Ellen, who co-founded JubyLee Bakes Kitchen in 2016, said, “The rather depressing statistic is that in the UK over 90 per cent of adults with a learning disability don’t have long term work or meaningful things to do.
“JubyLee Bakes Kitchen allows our bakers to showcase what they are able to do. And what they make is recognised and appreciated by the community because all their bakes are sold through cafes and markets. They can take pride in the fact that people want what they produce.”
JubyLee Bakes Kitchen received a massive boost in April 2019 when it was announced as a winner of The National Lottery’s The People’s Projects. It used its prize – funding of £50,000 – to help turn a dilapidated building on a former piggery into a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen.
Prior to building its own kitchen, the project had been forced to rent kitchen space. Ellen said, “We worked in rented places including a church kitchen, a school kitchen and a college kitchen. We could only use them at limited times when other people weren’t using them. It was very limiting.”
Winning The People’s Projects was transformational; the idea of a purpose-built kitchen suddenly went from dream to reality. Ellen said, “We built it during the pandemic. There was one builder and myself and my husband were the labourers. We worked within the Covid rules and opened it in July 2021.”
The opportunity to gain funding isn’t the only reason to take part in the People’s Projects. JubyLee Bakes Kitchen’s efforts to attract the votes required to win gained it lots of new followers on social media and generated some useful publicity. Ellen said, “It’s also been great in terms of other funding applications to say winning The People’s Projects is part of our journey.”
What would Ellen say to projects considering taking part in The People’s Projects? She said, “Go for it! Be clear about what you’re trying to achieve and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the way it brings you together as a team. You will probably discover new skills you didn’t know you had and it will open doors to new adventures. I cannot think of a single reason not to take part.”
Have your say in how £4Million of National Lottery funding is put to good use by brilliant community projects in your area. You can get more information about The National Lottery’s The People’s Projects and find out how to vote here.
15th May 2023
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