Our Volunteers: Martha

Liz

Martha Collison first caught the attention of the Bramber Bakehouse team when she appeared on The Great British Bake Off, highlighted as the youngest-ever contestant. Her artistic flair and baking passion was an inspiration to watch. As the weeks rolled on the team began to wonder what Bramber might be like if Martha joined. So, we asked. To our amazement, not only did Martha love the vision behind Bramber Bakehouse but she wanted to volunteer her time and take on the position as Head Baker too. We couldn’t believe it!

Martha has since become a cornerstone for our baking workshops, developing recipes and guiding groups through baking fundamentals. We are incredibly proud to have her on the team and are always in awe of her baking expertise.

To continue our celebration of the wonderful volunteers that make up Bramber Bakehouse, we asked Martha to share a few thoughts on her time with us.

Read on >>>

When did you first join Bramber Bakehouse?
I first found out about Bramber on social media back in 2015! I knew it sounded like something I’d love to be involved with, so I joined the team in 2016 to teach the baking side of our workshops.

What is your responsibility at Bramber Bakehouse?
I am the Head Baker at Bramber, which means anything baking related is my responsibility! I write the recipes that we teach at our workshops and work with Lucy to plan the baking curriculum, ensuring we teach our ladies a wide variety of baking skills. On workshop days, you’ll find me in the kitchen alongside our fantastic baking volunteers where we demonstrate each bake to the ladies and help them create their own products. There is lots of frantic oven checking and washing up, but I wouldn’t be anywhere else!

What sort of skills do you like teaching?
Our workshops currently work in the format where we spend 3 months teaching the basic skills, and then 5 months using these skills to bake for our Bramber pop-ups. I love seeing them pick up the techniques that seemed so alien in the first workshop, and be performing them like they are second nature by the 4th workshop! We have taught bread for the first time this year and it’s been a real delight to understand dough together.

What is your favourite memory so far?
My favourite memory so far has to be our very first workshop! I remember being quite nervous about meeting the ladies and being able to teach in an approachable way. They arrived and were so lovely and eager to learn, it really ignited my passion for why we do Bramber. One of the ladies grabbed me towards the end and said a heartfelt thank you, for thinking of them and putting on an activity to train and equip them, as since being brought out of their situation of exploitation they have had nothing to do and no one has invested in them. It felt really special to be able to do something that brings a bit of joy to their lives!!

And most importantly, what is your favourite Bramber bake?
I’m all about our Bramber Brownies – we did a salted caramel version once and it went down a storm!