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Criminal Justice

How making macaroons makes a difference

Miss Macaroon Community Interest Company (CIC) was started by Rosie Ginday, combining her passion for beautiful hand-crafted food, baking, and her desire to help disadvantaged young adults in her local area Birmingham.  Having trained to become a pastry chef at one of Birmingham’s four Michelin starred establishments, Rosie wanted to make the highly competitive Birmingham catering industry more accessible to marginalised young people from deprived areas of the city. Here the founder, a trustee, and a member of the team blog about the success of the Miss Macaroon model.

The Founder

“I set up Miss Macaroon in 2011 to bring together my passion for making the handed crafted delights that are French macaroons and providing supportive work placements for marginalised young people. Through a family member’s experience in the care system and chance encounters with a young homeless man in my home town I have always felt that I was extremely fortunate not to have been in a precarious situation myself. I dreamt of a business that combined my love of food, its power to create strong connections, a sense of community and nourish supportive relationships, throughout my time at school, university and abroad while setting up my first restaurant.

With help from amazing mentors, board members and University College Birmingham, where I did my catering training, I started producing our delicious French macaroons and ran a pilot training programme in 2011, out of which the Macaroons that Make A Difference programme emerged. To date we have worked with 17 of the most difficult to engage young people. I love making our beautiful product, quality control (taste) testing, and creating new flavours, but the thing that keeps me engaged after baking the 5000th macaroon of the day is seeing our newest member of staff practicing all of the skills he learnt on the first day he started the MacsMAD course. Initiative, time management, communication and team work are all improved by working in our kitchen. I’m really proud of the huge amount of hard work and commitment to learning and growing he has shown in working to get his apprenticeship and succeed in the Miss Macaroon kitchen, so much so that he is now called ‘Flash’!   With the support from Barrow Cadbury we can now increase the number of training placements, work experiences, mentor support sessions, and paid employment opportunities we can provide for young people who have been involved with the criminal justice system, who have been in care or found themselves homeless.

The new board member

Rosie Ginday’s Miss Macaroon has it all; exquisite hand-made French macaroons and a great cause. So when I was invited to join the board of this CIC I jumped at the chance. I’m very happy to help a project which supports young adults by providing work experience and practical help to guide them into work or education. It’s an exciting company and the energy and enthusiasm oozing from Rosie is highly infectious. She is a fantastic role model, not only for the young adults the organisation helps, but all SME business leaders, including me. Each time I attend a board meeting or catch up with Rosie in between time, I inevitably reflect back on how I can improve my own business. The Board consists of a group of experienced SME leaders with a wealth of experience across all aspects of business and it’s always interesting to get their perspective. However the most rewarding aspect is knowing (hoping!) I can play a small part in improving the work and educational opportunities for some young people. This was brought home to the board recently when one young man who had been given a short term contract at Miss Macaroon came to speak to us about his experience. He was confident, happy and had certainly soaked up some of Rosie’s enthusiasm. It was a pleasure to meet him and confirmed for me the real value of this worthwhile organisation.   I also get to eat some of the product; a perfect indulgence!

The newest full-time member of the team and beneficiary

My name is Zee and I’m 25 years old. I’m a trainee pastry chef doing an apprenticeship at Miss Macaroon. I work in the kitchen and prepare macaroons. I do a lot of the filling, packaging and baking.   When I was in a hostel last January I came across a flyer advertising the MacsMAD course as an opportunity to learn new skills. I had been unemployed for four years so the course was a good opportunity to readjust to a working environment and meet new people. I saw the flyer and thought it was something worth engaging with so I applied to get involved in the MacsMAD course. I met Rosie who helped me as mentor and gave me an introduction in to the catering industry. I also gained my food hygiene qualification. My confidence grew throughout the process. I stayed in touch with Rosie who encouraged me to get some work experience.

I was offered the opportunity to get some experience one day a week and grow in the industry. After that I got offered a position. I then went on to do three days a week. It’s been a good transition I guess to start off on one day then three days, and finally on full time hours. There hasn’t been pressure – I’ve gradually been allowed to fit in. It’s been easier than just going straight in to full time work which would have been a bit more pressure if I hadn’t had the chance to develop the way I have.   I was asked to speak at a board meeting in July and I didn’t know what to expect. I was a bit nervous but excited too. I definitely learned a different side of business and how this is a crucial part, how different minds and skills come together to improve the company. I felt privileged to be involved and it will be great to put on my CV. The opportunity was good for me to express myself about my experience at Miss Macaroon. It reassured me that I wasn’t judged. It was a good experience – definitely something positive to take forward in life. I learnt more about everyone’s roles and more about management.

Miss Macaroon has helped me to get a job in catering. It’s helped with skills, confidence, direction, focus and determination. It’s given me the opportunity to be part of something positive and constructive and to appreciate what skills are required in the work place. Rosie is a good motivator so my confidence has grown. Setting goals is now part of the way I work which I didn’t do before and that’s because of the five year plan we have put in place.

Find out more about Miss Macaroon on their website.   Twitter: @IamMissMacaroon Facebook: MissMacaroonCIC