The Kindness of Strangers

A month ago we wrote a little article for Prospect magazine, the local magazine for the Barnes Residents, published by the Barnes Community Association.  In it we described what we do and asked readers if they had space for us to hold our group baking events as our original venue has become too small.  The flurry of responses has confirmed our faith in the kindness of strangers and the fundmental virtue of people.  Here are four stories:

  1. A governor of East Sheen Primary School rang to say they had just re-done their teaching kitchens.  In return for going in on one Friday a month to teach baking to the children we can use the kitchen every Wednesday evening to run baking classes/groups/etc.  They love the idea of the kitchen being of benefit to the maximum number of people and we love the idea that we get to teach the children there.  The people I met there are amazing – forward thinking, supportive, intelligent and practical.  There is a huge allotment, they promote creative learning, they keep chickens and when I was there they were boarding a pig!  Constructive relationship building?  You know it.
  2. A woman rang to say that one of the mothers of one of her children’s friends had recently died.  She would like us to run a baking evening for them to help them through their grieving process.  I was in tears on the phone.
  3. An ex-offender rang, intrigued with the idea that will teach baking in prisons.  She wanted to know if we needed any help with that (we do) because, although she is not ready to re-engage with the prison system, she knows people who do and they are at Women in Prison and they can help us gain access to the system.  Brilliant and brave.
  4. An e mail arrived with details of space locally which we could rent if we needed it.  Who knew there were such lovely places to be had on our doorstep.  Whilst we probably won’t need it (now we have the school) it is great to know it is there.  If anyone reading this needs space in south west London, click here.

Virtue is all around us.  If we ask nicely and are prepared to give back we shall receive.