Our Volunteers: Liz

Lucy Butt

Today we continue our volunteers series. Everyone, meet Liz.

Liz has been a volunteer with Bramber Bakehouse since the very beginning. She has supported the charity in various ways over the years but her current role(s) include areas of finance, marketing and leading the employability workshops. Liz is passionate about the work of Bramber Bakehouse and loves being part of the bigger picture. She admires the women that participate in our programmes and is always in awe of their determination and courage. 

We asked Liz a few questions about why she joined Bramber and her experience on the team. Read on to find out more…

So Liz, how did you come to be involved with Bramber Bakehouse?

‘I always knew I wanted to do more to support women who had been exploited but could never quite work out how. I tried different avenues, from volunteering to applying for women-based charity work, and just kept finding myself back at the beginning. Then one chilly evening, sat outside Bills, co-founder Hollin proposed the idea of Bramber and asked if I wanted to get involved. From that moment on, Bramber Bakehouse became a large part of my life. It took another few years of planning and many many meetings, but when the workshops finally launched it was such an exciting moment. I felt so honoured to be part of the team and grateful that I could play my part.’

What has been your most memorable moment so far? 

‘At the end of each workshop we host a graduation party. It’s a party to celebrate the achievement of completing the programme but it also gives us a chance to celebrate the participants for who they are. I remember one year, one of the ladies had been relatively quiet during the programme. She always got involved and always showed willing but it wasn’t often clear how we she might have been feeling, especially about the programme and the future. When it came to the day of her graduation, we called her to the front, gave a little speech and asked if she had any words. After a long pause, a tear rolled down her cheek. She replied “Today I have felt so special, you have given me hope.” By the time she got back to her chair there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. 

Bramber had always been so much more than an eight-month programme. More than baking and employability training. And at that moment, those few words brought it all home. At that moment we’d achieved more than we could have ever hoped for, and that will stay with me forever.’

What changes have you seen in the participants during their time at Bramber Bakehouse?

‘Every group I’ve been a part of have shown huge transformation from their first week to their last. It’s so special to see and testament to the environment Bramber has created. To start ladies can be reserved (understandably!) but by the end they are beaming in confidence, they are comfortable and relaxed, and no matter what challenges they are facing they leave Bramber empowered and positive about the future.’

What’s your favourite Bramber bake? 

I genuinely love them all, but the Bramber Brownie has to be a firm favourite.