Volunteers bake birthday treats for less fortunate youngsters

    A COMMUNITY baking project completed its 250th cake last week [Wednesday May 3] to coincide with its own second birthday.

    Free Cakes for Kids Tonbridge has been creating specially designed birthday cakes for children who would otherwise not get one, since May 2015.

    Founded by Salli Thwaite in Hildenborough, the group now boasts a team of 45 bakers and with such strong numbers they have been able to fulfil every request they have received so far with each volunteer making a cake every six weeks or so.

    To qualify for a cake, children must be referred by a third party such as a social worker, a charity, their school or church. They give details of the child’s interests with popular requests including football teams and Disney’s Frozen characters.

    Ms Thwaite said: “When people are in dire circumstances, a birthday cake is probably the last thing they think about. It’s giving something special on their special day.”

    One volunteer baker, Annie Denny added: “For me it’s about ensuring children who have far too few joyous moments in their lives get to experience that feeling. It’s a small way of showing them that someone out there cares about them and is thinking of them.”

    And their efforts are certainly gratefully received, as Karen Kemp from the West Kent YMCA’s Ryder House in Tunbridge Wells testified: “Many of our young people have such low expectations, that the fact that anyone would bother to take the time to make them a cake is often beyond their comprehension.

    “They are always surprised to receive anything on their birthdays and the look of amazement and delight on their faces is fabulous to see.”

    Ms Thwaite added: “We are always looking for new volunteer bakers and organisations that have contact with people who would benefit from our service. I can be contacted by email on freecakesforkidstonbridge@gmail.com or www.facebook.com/freecakesforkidstonbridge.”