Last week I had the pleasure and delight to attend two charity dinners. Firstly our onsite team, along with chef consultant, Adam Byatt cooked for 160 supporters of one of our client office services teams event to raise money for their local company cause – it was great fun and very worthwhile to be part of especially as it raised nearly £23k. It was enjoyable as everyone was there for common aim of raising money and enjoying great food. It was an honour to be part of and the bartlett mitchell team had plenty of fun too.

Gambia Project

The second event, later the same week, was our annual charity evening with our suppliers where we ask them during the year not to ‘entertain’ us but instead use the resources to attend a dinner where they have access to the senior team. We provide a stunning meal and have a great evening whilst at same time raising money for our Gambia projects. So far we have raised money for a milling machine – now allowing young girls to go to school. Girls now account for 50%, whereas it used to be less than 20%. We also raised funds to secure the kitchen garden with a wall, so villagers can produce much needed food, especially for the children at school. At last year’s event we raised enough money to supply solar panelling for the school so students can better use their time to study and the teachers have access to PCs and other resources.

It’s been a very personal journey as each year we have seen how our fund raising has helped this village, and how 100% of the monies raised are used to make improvements to the lives to the people within the village.

At this year’s 2019 charity dinner we raised enough money to support a solar electric borehole, as at present the villagers have to manually fetch their water from a borehole. They can only draw a very small amount at a time, so it is a very time consuming job! The electric borehole will free up their time, so they can concentrate on more fruitful projects, which will help to bring the village to self-sufficiency.

How do we know what is happening and that all the money goes to the cause we are raising money for? Well, my wonderful cousin, Gary goes off to the area for two months a year to spend the money and ensure the project is delivered. This year there was also a great celebration as the first person ever, from the village, has gone to University. Pa Abdou was one of the children individually sponsored for education by a bartlett mitchell team member. Heather Day, one of our Operations Directors, has funded his schooling for many years. She receives letters and reports as thanks and is absolutely delighted that her support has helped make a real difference. bartlett mitchell charity funds have also added their support so he could attend university and now he intends to qualify in something that will benefit his village.

Biscuit Factory Project

Steve Fox, our Purchasing Director, as always put great energy and resources into not only organising the event but also the raffle. With a donated bottle of bubbly Steve raised funds towards our biscuit factory project for the Nicaragua ‘Biscuit’ ladies. These are ladies who have a lean month each year, when they can’t do their normal job of turning the coffee beans in the sun. To help them through this lean month, we intend to build a small kitchen, which will enable them to produce biscuits to sell locally.

These are all small steps, among many we do on various charities,  but we feel we are making just a little more difference and giving back .

My earliest food memories are of my mum’s baking; coconut pyramid cakes were my favourite.

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