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Help bakery support homeless at Christmas

Posted onPosted on 17th Nov

Report by Kady Lee

Award-winning BJ Bakery — a small business in Blidworth with a big heart — is continuing to make its passion, hard work, and positive attitude benefit even more community charities across the Mansfield area.

In November it was presented with the Citizens Of The Year award by Ravenshead and Blidworth Rotary for its commitment and service to the community.

Mark and Beverley Gilmartin, owners of the friendly Blidworth bakery, on Mansfield Road, said they were honoured and proud to receive the accolade — and appealed for people to back its new Christmas appeal.

“If there is a need we can do something about, we will do it,” said Mark, who together with Bev also received a community award from The Social Action Hub for their work with the elderly and vulnerable across Rainworth and Blidworth two years ago.

BJ Bakery has consistently provided help for the vulnerable, seven days a week, for the last 10 years through its meals on wheels service.

Mark said malnutrition in the over-70s is extremely common, which is why the bakery always makes sure it goes above and beyond to produce and deliver a range of healthy meals to people’s homes for just £4.

Now BJ Bakery is organising a Christmas appeal to address another issue in the community — homelessness.

In collaboration with The Hall Homeless Support Project, BJ Bakery will be handing out a warm, nutritious Christmas meal at St Peter’s Centre, Mansfield, as well as gifts.

It is asking people to donate items that can be handed to homeless people enjoying the bakery’s festive meal — such as hats, socks, gloves, coats, roll-on deodorants, shower gel, underwear, selection boxes, cans of pop, biscuits, and more.

Donations can be made at the bakery up to 10th December.

Mark stressed that their annual Christmas meal for the homeless gets busier and busier. Originally there were 20 to 30 people eating, but now that has increased to 50 or 60.

“We emphasise the importance of every donation during this season as it becomes noticeably harder to find warm and dry spaces on the icy winter streets,” he added.

“Once again we will be providing a Christmas lunch for the homeless in Mansfield.

“This year the plight of people with nowhere to call home is greater than ever, so we’d love to be able to give them an extra gift

BJ Bakery received seven bags full of donations last year and is preparing to receive even more this winter.

The bakery has helped several other charities across the Mansfield area thanks to Mark and Bev — and their customers.

The couple have dedicated their time and energy into holding fun days for Maggie’s Nottingham and its cancer care, raising £1,000 in the past year.

They are also advocates for the charity Spectrum WASP, hosting lively movie and pizza nights for children and young people on the autistic spectrum with disabilities, special needs, and additional needs — and their families.

As well, generous customers who visit BJ Bakery donate 10p to one of those charities every time they ask for a bag with their food.

Everything is cooked in the shop, meat is roasted daily in-store, and eggs are free range — emphasising the couple’s commitment to freshness and quality.

Items for the Christmas appeal can be left at BJ Bakery on Mansfield Road, Blidworth, or call 01623 793864 to arrange collection.