Hiya! We are Bulb, a social enterprise bakery based in lovely Birmingham. We are a non-profit company and all our profits will fund our baking and hospitality courses for women currently out of employment, education and training (NEET), particularly those women who have lived experience of gender-based violence and/or mental health issues.
We are currently Crowdfunding, as part of the Natwest #backherbusiness campaign, so we can move into & equip a purpose-built, accessible kitchen/teaching space in the Community Hub in Balsall Heath, as well as create a Carers Scholarship for our courses. If we can Crowdfund £3500 then Natwest will double it!!
You can either donate or claim one of our delicious Crowdfunder rewards as part of your donation & help us make it happen!
Why do the women of Birmingham need Bulb?
Research by Birmingham City Council shows that Birmingham has one of the lowest female employment rates when compared with all other major cities and that the gender employment gap in Birmingham is significantly wider than the UK average. In addition to this, the steady increase of female self-employment seen nationally has not been reflected locally in Birmingham. Birmingham is a vibrant and diverse city with so much opportunity and potential but women are clearly missing out.
So why are these women missing out on opportunities? Unemployed and economically inactive women in Birmingham often face multiple disadvantages such as socio-economic background, caring responsibilities or disability (including mental health and chronic illness). Lack of training/education and geographical location are also shown to all play a major role in unemployment rates in Birmingham’s women. Most noticeably only 36% of disabled women in Birmingham are employed and 45% of young women in the Balsall Heath & Sparkbrook constituency, where Bulb will be based, are classed at NEET.
Yet, research by the Young Woman’s Trust highlighted that the majority of NEET and economically inactive young women in Birmingham have the ambition to find work, pursue new opportunities and secure financial independence. However, these women also reported isolation, low self-esteem and mental health issues as key barriers.
These findings, my lived experience of mental health issues and my professional experiences at Leeds Mind and the Princes Trust, working with NEET women, have all worked to shape Bulb and the support we will offer to the women of Birmingham. While working for the Princes Trust I witnessed first-hand how training, community and support helped lift people out of loneliness, hopelessness and allowed them to access positive opportunities. I want to use this knowledge and the skills I have developed to create a social enterprise that puts the needs and dreams of the women we work with at the centre of everything we do and create a Bulb community that empowers all women.
By offering women training opportunities and a space to grow and learn and feel safe I hope Bulb can support women to a better future.
Why we believe baking, cooking & food can create change and empower
Baking will be central to Bulb providing both the income for the social enterprise and be the focus of the training as we teach women how to bake and cook in a professional setting while building self-belief, communication, and employability skills.
Baking is so much more than just simply making a cake - it uses maths, science, literacy and language skills and works as a more hands-on way of learning that many people find more effective. We believe baking and cooking is a great way of engaging people with new skills and developing others such as teamwork, organisation, and forward planning. These skills all invaluable for women looking to move back into work or training but also in many everyday situations. Baking is also great as it encourages mindfulness, uses creativity and is proven to improve wellbeing.
Baking evokes joy and creates connection, from placing a cake down at a community event for a group to share over a cup of tea to the passing down of recipes through generations. Cake and food are used to comfort, to celebrate and to explore culture. Baking and food bring people together and we believe Bulb can help tackle the issue of social isolation and loneliness in our communities.
Where we are and where we want to be (with your help!)
Currently, we bake from a tiny home kitchen and supply cakes to several local cafes as well as catering events and creating bespoke cakes. However, we have very much outgrown our space and are having to turn away new clients due to capacity. We achieved a start-up award from social enterprise charity UnLtd which included a small grant and support which has helped us get things off the ground. We have developed the curriculum for our courses and mentor training with the help of education and community experts, have run trial workshops and are ready to deliver the course once we have the space to do it.
Luckily, we have secured the perfect kitchen space in the beautiful Community Hub in Balsall Heath. At the moment the kitchen is a bit run down and needs a new lease of life but funding has been secured by the Community Hub to renovate the kitchen space. We will use part of the money generated by this Crowdfunder to takeover the renovated kitchen as well as buying equipment to be used both for baking and delivering the courses. With your help, we will be able to move into the Community Hub Kitchen and begin delivering our training courses and mentoring to women in the community in an accessible and inspirational space.
We will also use the money raised from the Crowdfunder to set up a Bulb Carers Scholarship to make our courses and opportunities more accessible for those women with caring responsibilities. The scholarship will cover the cost of care for the days that the women/carer attends the course, whether that be for a babysitter, nursery or adult carer. This is really important as studies have shown that many women turn down opportunities as they cannot balance caring responsibilities or afford the financial cost of using help.
Our Crowndfunder Rewards!
To thank you for your donations we have a whole host of rewards including:
Salted caramel brownie box delivered to your door!
Afternoon tea cake packages with brownies, mini victoria sponges, scones, homemade jam, finger sandwiches and Taylor's tea & prosecco (available for pick up or delivery in Birmingham)
Custom made celebration cake with flower decoration
Jar of Bulb salted caramel
Bespoke Wedding cake or event cake table
We will celebrate our move into the Community Hub by fulfilling our rewards. However, for celebration cakes, wedding cakes/cake tables & afternoon tea packages, we are happy to arrange earlier fulfillment where possible and if desired.
Meet the Bulb team
Rebecca - Founder of Bulb and Head Baker.
Rebecca has worked in food since she was 18 including training at Noisette Bakehouse & starting a street business when just 21. Rebecca has also worked for charities such as the Prince's Trust, Mind and as well as at the University of Birmingham as student support. Rebecca is incredibly passionate about gender equality and creating accessible opportunities which support women to succeed. Rebecca feels strongly that every woman deserves an empowering community that listens and supports them and hopes Bulb will provide just this for many women in Birmingham.
Favourite Bulb bake: Chocolate blackout with vanilla frosting
Lou - Director, Motivator & Marketing genius.
If it wasn’t for Lou, Bulb wouldn’t exist! Lou has helped shape Bulb’s operations and brand and is relentless in her support and motivation of the team. Lou is brimming with ideas, an unbeatable can-do attitude and has bundles of experiences in management and marketing. Lou currently works for Manifesto designing and running digital marketing campaigns for national charities and non-profit organisations.
Favourite Bulb bake: Biscoff cake
Ashlie - All Round Superwoman & Digital Wizard.
Ashlie has been with Bulb since the beginning, she is an amazing baker and has an extraordinary eye for detail. Not only can Ashlie bake but she is also a digital genius and created our Crowdfunder video. Ashlie is a passionate women’s rights activist and isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes in - her kindness is infectious! Ashlie currently works for Groundwork UK in Birmingham and supports community projects in the West Midlands.
Favourite Bulb bake: Sea salt & dark chocolate cookies
Ella - PR & Social Media star
Ella has been working with us to ensure that our Crowdfunder reaches as many people as possible and ensures our Instagram & social media meet her high standards - her insights and ideas are invaluable. Ella tells it like it is and is a fierce feminist which makes her a perfect fit for Bulb. Ella currently works for Sports England helping to promote accessible sporting opportunities to the local communities.
Favourite Bulb bake: Salted caramel brownies
THANK SO MUCH FOR YOUR HELP AND SUPPORT!! EVERY DONATION, SHARE & MOTIVATIONAL MESSAGE MEANS SO MUCH TO US xxxx
This project offers rewards in return for your donation.