Phew! Well… Yesterday marked the end of Bloom’s Autumn programme and what a great few months it’s been. And so as we tidy away the baking tins, hang up our pastry brushes… and finally start thinking about hanging stockings on the wall instead, we’re so amazed and thankful for all that we’ve achieved his term. And so, to mark the formal end of our Autumn programme, I thought I’d do a brief round up of all things Bloom that have happened this Autumn season…
At the beginning of Autumn we launched two more of our Bloom training courses, working with ten local people experiencing unemployment. Over the weeks of the course we covered bread, cakes, pastry, biscuits and piping skills - as well as a few freestyle weeks with bakes chosen by our trainees; This term it was Battenbergs and, I tell you, Mr Kipling might have some competition on the horizon!
As you will know by now, these training courses are really at the heart of who we are at Bloom and we’ve loved getting to know our trainees and to see them developing skills, growing in confidence and becoming passionate about producing beautiful bakes. A number of those who’ve been on our courses are now thinking about looking for employment in bakery or in the hospitality sector more broadly, and some are even thinking about setting up their own home-baking businesses. These kind of stories are what Bloom is all about, and we’ll be working with our trainees in the new year to help them take their next steps towards their goals.
A huge well done to our fabulous trainees for taking a step and coming along to a Bloom course, and thanks to all our wonderful volunteers who have made these courses possible.
Bloom is a social enterprise (want to to know why, or what that is? Check out last week’s blog) and this season's trading opportunities are mainly festive in nature. This year, we were delighted to run a pop-up cafe at the Blackheath Christmas Fair, and to have stalls at Blackheath Village Day and Brockley Christmas Market. For us, these events are not only about generating income to fund our training courses - but just as important is the opportunity for our trainees to create professional products, suitable for sale. Across these three events we sold hundreds of Bloom bakes all made by our trainees - demonstrating just how far their skills have developed, and the amazing creative potential that has been unlocked over the past 10 weeks. It’s also been great to get out and speak to lots of wonderful local people about what we do, make contacts, discuss opportunities and, of course, eat cake!
Thank you to the Friends of Age Exchange, Blackheath Village Day and Brockley Action Group for having us at your events, and to all of the wonderful customers who bought our Bloom bakes.
And last but by no-means least - this Autumn we launched our crowdfunding campaign - a pivotal step for us in helping to raise the funding we need to take Bloom to the next level. We’ve seen some amazing things happen already with Bloom, and that’s still while we’re 100% volunteer-powered. We now want to take the next step and employ our first staff member to oversee our activities - specifically helping us to grow our social enterprise trading that will unlock more income for our training, and create work experience and job opportunities for our trainees. We have been amazed at the response to the campaign and we’re now at 93% of our target, and have 10 days left until our deadline.
We really are SO close now - we just need a few more generous pledges to make up that last 7% and enable us to achieve all that we have planned for Bloom in 2018. We’re excited already about the impact we could create for people facing unemployment in our community. A huge, huge thank you to everyone who has pledged so far - and if you can help us to cross the finish line, then please do pop over to our crowdfunding page and pledge today.
And.... that's a wrap! It really has been a fantastic Autumn season for Bloom... thank you to each and every person who has made it happen, and here's to an even more exciting 2018!