Leeds-based Brown and Blond to support mental health first aid training for LGBT+ group Angels of Freedom

A Leeds brownie business is celebrating 11 years of baking by promising to support LGBT+ community cause Angels of Freedom with mental health first aid training.

Thursday, 10th June 2021, 4:45 pm
Brown and Blond owners George and Lucy Welton

Brown and Blond is celebrating its 11th birthday this year after not being able to mark a decade in the business during the pandemic.

Owners George and Lucy Welton are marking the milestone by donating 15 per cent of all online retail sales made through June to Angels of Freedom.

Angels of Freedom is a Leeds community-based initiative organised by volunteers to bring a caring LGBT+ scene to Leeds and the funding will help to deliver mental health first aid training.

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Supported by Leeds City Council, British Transport Police and West Yorkshire Police, Angels of Freedom provides visible LGBT+ support in the Freedom Quarter of Leeds every Friday evening.

Rob Wilson, founder of the initiative, said: “I launched the Angels of Freedom back in December 2017 to minimise risk and vulnerability for those on a night out on the LGBT+ bar scene, and to promote alternative social opportunities in Leeds to build connections in the community.

"Our Friday evening street team is the most visible of our activities, but we also work with a range of other organisations to improve service delivery and outcomes for LGBT+ people.

"We really appreciate this opportunity to collaborate with Brown & Blond this Pride Month to financially support us to deliver Mental Health First Aid training again.

"This course is being delivered to representatives from a number of LGBT+ community groups to increase the grassroot support for each other when experiencing mental health crisis."

Brown and Blond continued to grow through lockdown, with around 30,000 brownies being sold every week after a testing year.

Now, George and Lucy want to use their success to support others.

George said: “The last 15 months have certainly been testing. Like many others when lockdown one hit, we took the decision to safeguard our staff and ourselves.

"We furloughed our team, but myself and a then-pregnant Lucy decided to carry on in whatever capacity we could to keep B&B going.

"Whilst wholesale was stripped to almost nothing, we saw a surge in demand for online sales, flipping our business on its head.

"We quickly realised how important it was to keep going when we saw how many of our boxes were being sent to friends and family of people who hadn’t seen each other in a long time but wanted to send a gift to show their love.

"When Covid cases started to dip we re-introduced staff back into the bakery enabling us to keep up with online demand along with an influx of new wholesale enquiries.

"Demand for online sales remained high so we brought on another four full-time members of staff, who are now integral to business operation.

"The support from all of our customers throughout the last year has been truly humbling. It’s definitely made us stronger as a business and a team; we have built some great relationships with new and existing customers which I am sure will continue to prosper post Covid.”