Freedom from Torture - Jane Beedle bakes for Bake Freedom

Jane Beedle bakes for Bake Freedom

Click here to sign up to Bake Freedom and test your baking skills with Jane's tasty recipes!

The day was cloudless but that didn’t stop Jane Beedle baking up a storm at Freedom from Torture’s London centre. Over the day, she measured, mixed, kneaded and baked two of her favourite bakes and shared the recipes so Bake Freedom participants can enjoy the same tasty treats.

Jane will already be familiar to many Freedom from Torture supporters. She was one of the final three in the 2016 BBC Bake Off final, which saw her narrowly pipped to the first prize.

No matter, for Jane her time in Bake Off has produced only positive responses. She says that it has meant that she has been inundated with invites to interesting events, done television interviews, supported charities and met people who she would not have met in the ordinary course of events. And baking itself has never become a chore but a relaxing pastime.

In many ways, Jane was born to bake, with grandparents and parents involved in the family bakery business in Hastings. Rather than formal learning, baking entered her life like osmosis. She baked when young and later for her family, although sadly, the baking bug seems to have skipped a generation and her children do not bake, although they are more than happy to consume the treats from her oven.

It was as an amateur baker than she entered Bake Off. Her life has since changed dramatically. She says that the series gave her greater confidence in herself and her baking abilities. In the past she had followed recipes faithfully but Bake Off required original recipes, or at least a twist on old favourites. It meant she was experimenting with cakes and bakes new to her, where she had to draw her knowledge and experience.

Jane wasn’t alone in her effects at Freedom from Torture, as she was joined by torture survivors Max and Bibiche. On the surface, their lives have followed very different courses. Jane grew up in a secure and stable environment, while Max and Bibiche had to flee their homes after torture and persecution, to seek asylum in the UK. But they bonded together over a shared love of food and cooking.

Max and Bibiche had taken part in Freedom from Torture’s Bread group, as a step in their therapeutic journey to recovery from trauma. As its name suggests, the Bread Group is a group therapy, and one where participants do not need to talk. Instead they let their hands do the work, mixing, twisting and kneading dough, seeing it rise in the oven, and then sharing the results. Everyone brings their own combination of ingredients and flavours, a taste of home from a country far away but not forgotten.

Max and Bibiche confessed to being avid Bake Off fans, and were delighted to be baking alongside Jane. In return Jane described them as inspirational and said that she had learned a lot from them. She would definitely be adding Max’s special bread recipe to her own repertoire. She says:

Bread is a universal foodstuff something that brings people together. It creates a common bond, a space where we can start talking to each other.

One of the outcomes of her Bake Off success was that Jane has been able to use her considerable talents to support charities. She has been involved in charities working with children and older people with dementia but this is her first time supporting refugees and torture survivors.

She says it was her son who encouraged her to become involved with Freedom from Torture as a cause worthy of support, and it brought back memories of driving from England into France and past the ever-growing Calais camp, full of desperate people. Like the other charities she supports, Freedom from Torture clients are vulnerable people, who need empathy and specialist care to achieve their potential.

So, apart from the delicious dishes that Jane has donated to supporters, what tips does Jane have for Bake Freedom participants?

Have confidence in yourself and your ability to bake. If you don’t feel that you can manage by yourself, invite friends to join in and do a joint event. It doesn’t have to be perfect but it should be fun and inviting.

And don’t feel you have to put a price on the food. Just tell people about your cause and invite them to donate. You will be surprised how generous people can be – more so than if you priced everything. And it also means that people with less money can contribute without feeling mean or embarrassed. In the end you find that you will raise much more money than you expect.

Click here to sign up to Bake Freedom and test your baking skills with Jane's tasty recipes!

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