If you happened to visit St Andrew’s church on Wellfield Road last Saturday, I’m sure you had a great time. Extraordinary cakes, music, art, workshops for kids, Mickey and Minnie mouse, Olaf and of course the one and only Lady Gaga. It was another successful charity event which will help many people in need as well as local charities.
Many little stories happened during the day but what inspired me the most was that very first shutter click of this year’s Roath Bake Off. The first capture, the volunteer group photograph just before the doors open to the public, can describe why the Great Roath Bake Off has been accepted and loved by the community for 6 years now. It’s a story of good people who offer their time and inspired by their love for the community make all these come true. It’s a story of the people behind the scenes, the Roath Bake Off volunteers.
Of course, it’s good to see everyone enjoying the event. It’s also nice to give something back to local charities/hospital. I grew up in Roath so to have this event on in our community is very special and well worth it! – Kevin Knight
The unofficial start of each year’s preparations is usually marked with the promo shoot. When it comes to charity events the budget is most of the times none or limited in the best case. What is in abundance though is the good mood, the right mentality and creativity. The images for the marketing material were produced towards the end of January. The following 3 months each of the volunteers did a bit of everything to make the event a success.
Elaine Morris is one of the key volunteers who has participated in all previous events. She pleasantly accepted to talk to me about her duties and what happens behind the scenes until day zero arrives. Elaine said : “I’m pleased and honoured to be part of the bake off. Wayne’s enthusiasm is such an inspiration to us all. It’s also such an inspiration to work with the other volunteers and to see how passionate people are about cakes! A huge amount of preparation goes into the event, many of which goes on behind the scenes. Wayne and the other volunteers work like troopers to pull everything together. Each year we reflect on how the event has been, learn from it and put changes in for the next event so that we can continue to improve and adapt the event”. Elaine highlighted also the importance of sponsors in such events. “Having CPS on board as our sponsors has made a huge difference. They are a pleasure to work with and I hope they will continue in their support. It never fails to amaze me as to how generous people are. “
This year, we also held two workshops in Cathays high school and we are keen to get involved with and arrange other events so that the bake off legacy continues and reaches more and more people through the year. – Elaine Morris
Rhian Marshall has also participated in all previous bake offs. She is a key volunteer who offers her time after she finishes her job as a nurse. Rhian talked to me about her role and how long the preparations last: “Preparation for the bake off starts rolling a few months before the event, it’s surprising how much work and effort has to go into it to make the day as successful as possible. As I work long shifts being a nurse, most of my days off in the preparation process are taken up organising and promoting the event. Each volunteer has different roles. My role is Coordinator. I organise the pre bake off publicity and look after the judges on the day. “
Sharron Mills was in the judges panel. Sharron said about her experience: “This event amazes me each year as does the standard of entries. The volunteers or as I call them “Wayne’s Cake Angels” all put in so much hard work to support Wayne and his mission to make this event a great success year after year and raise funds towards the chosen charities. Wayne Courtney’s enthusiasm motivates everyone around him to want to get involved and it is an honour to be asked to be on the judging panel again. This year’s variety of musical entertainment was a real delight and loved the acoustic sounds within the chapel – well done to Calum for pulling it all together too. I have the simple task of turning up to eat cake while listening to the music.”
The volunteers or as I call them “Wayne’s Cake Angels” all put in so much hard work to support Wayne and his mission to make this event a great success year after year and raise funds towards the chosen charities. – Sharron Mills
Kevin Knight is yet another happy volunteer who offers his evening and weekend time during the preparations period. Kevin told me that for the whole event around 40 people would do a bit of everything. He has certain responsibilities but does anything from leaflets, and setting up the venue to dressing as ( spoiler alert ) Mickey Mouse. When I asked him whether is worth the effort he was positive: “Of course, it’s good to see everyone enjoy the event. It’s also nice to give something back to local charities/hospital. I grew up in Roath so to have this event on in our community is very special and well worth it!”
These are three of the many stories that happen behind the scenes. I shouldn’t forget all the awesome musicians that entertained the hundreds of visitors during the day. The VOICE 2015 contestant Stephanie Webber also performed, supporting with her voice the good cause. The sponsors, the judges, the photographers, the local media are also a huge help. The first citizen of Cardiff the Lord Mayor was also there. The Lord Mayor despite her busy schedule stayed for more than hour. She had the chance to talk with the visitors, the volunteers and delivered the awards. She even helped with the raffle. Nothing can happen without an effort but a small miracle can happen when the community spirit is strong and vivid. As for me, I just feel so lucky and full of emotions that I had the chance to be part of all this once again.
Here are some of the moments of the Great Roath Bake Off 2015.