A mum from Greater Manchester, who runs a charity branch providing birthday cakes for children, is hoping to expand her reach across Salford.
Michelle Moorhouse, 49, who lives in Altrincham, started her own Free Cakes For Kids branch in Irlam and Cadishead in January, and her team of 20 volunteers has since delivered 25 cakes.
The mother of one was a volunteer baker at the charity’s Trafford branch for the past five years, but after speaking to her sister, the Assistant Headteacher at Irlam Primary School, Michelle realised there was a need in Salford too.
Michelle, who also runs a commercial contracting business with her husband, said: “It’s worked really well in Irlam and Cadishead but I now feel like we’re in a position to expand it a little bit further into Salford, and all the bakers are happy to do that as well.
“You don’t have to live in Irlam and Cadishead to take the offer up, but I am a bit wary of ending up with 30 cake requests and only 20 bakers, so we’re always on the lookout for volunteers!
“Without the volunteer bakers there wouldn’t be a service, and the more people that come forward, the better, because we could offer the service throughout the whole of Salford, which would be amazing.
“If people need a cake please get in touch because we’ll always try and help people.”
Free Cakes For Kids is a national charity for those who cannot afford to buy their own birthday cakes, and the service is completely confidential.
Referrals for the Irlam and Cadishead branch come from local schools, foodbanks, and charities such as Milk Aid and Home-Start, and people can refer themselves as well.
Michelle requests only a small amount of background information to ensure the service is going towards people who need it, and she also asks for the occasion and the theme, to tailor the cake to the child.
Once she has the required information, it is passed on to one of the volunteer bakers, who deliver it themselves on the referral’s chosen day.
Michelle added: “Everyone wants to feel special on their birthday, and I think for kids it’s even more important, they want to talk about what they got, what the cake looked like, especially if they’re having a party because the cake is the focal point.
“We get a lot of texts and emails to say thank you, and when you deliver the cakes, you get to meet the children, and that’s amazing to see their faces. They’re just so happy that a cake’s been made for them, with their name on, and a theme they like, so the bakers really enjoy dropping the cakes off, I know I did.”
David from Irlam requested a joint coming home and birthday cake for his nephew who had spent seven weeks in hospital, including on his 11th birthday.
He said: “I was absolutely speechless with the whole set up and service. For people who are not fortunate enough to pay for luxuries like bespoke birthday cakes, you would be so grateful for any cake that was given to you, and would be happy to collect it yourself whenever the baker tells you. Instead, this amazing group of volunteers make you feel like you are purchasing from a professional store, and throughout the whole process I never felt like I was asking for charity.
“I can’t thank them enough for everything they did. It made it possible for us to gift our poorly little man with something we could never usually afford, and it brought a smile to his face.
“I was very touched by the hard work of these volunteers, and how they want to give something to their community, especially during such difficult times. It restores your faith in humanity, and has inspired me to try and help them where I can too.”