22nd Nov, 2017

How family bakery near Redditch helps others to not only cope, but thrive

Imogen Buller 15th Nov, 2017

THE founder of a specialist bakery in Redditch is championing inclusion and helping people to not only cope, but thrive.

Hannah Prendergast is the woman behind Nine Tea Cups, a social enterprise based in Astwood Bank.

Alongside her mum and sister, Zahra and Maxine, what began as a way to simply ‘help people’ has grown into a multi-faceted business that not only offers support workshops and services for people with social and mental health struggles, but also allows those living with complex food allergies to enjoy the sweet things in life.

The business has two distinct branches – a specialist gluten-free, dairy-free home bakery, and a network of support services available to anyone on a self-referral basis.

Hannah, who herself has severe food allergies, set up the business in 2009, seeking to make the world a better place.

“Food has played an important role in everything that we have ever done,” she said.

“The way that food brings us together and unites us, if only briefly, is something that we should savour. It is so much more than just fuel and that’s why we created Nine Tea Cups.

“It’s all about inclusion. We make cakes, breads and treats that everyone can eat – after all, who wants to live in a world that excludes others because they are different?”

This inclusive ethos is something that is carried through to the social enterprise half of the business, and Nine Tea Cups also subsidises and runs support workshops and advocacy services for autistic people, survivors of trauma, people who struggle with their mental health and disabled people.

Other support services include community fitness classes and body positivity workshops.

Hannah also lectures on the topics of disability, neurodiversity and advocacy, and has guest lectured on Redditch’s Heart of Worcestershire College BA Social Work course.

“We want to make talking about trauma, or social anxieties as normal as sitting down and having a coffee or sharing a meal with friends,” she added.

“Almost everyone will experience trauma at some point in their life, and we want to let people know that it’s okay to talk about it.

“Whether you are autistic, have struggled with mental health, body image, body positivity, have experienced trauma, or just would like to be in a supportive environment, we would like to hear from you.”

Anyone interested in signing up for workshops or finding out more about what Nine Tea Cups offers, should visit social.nineteacups.com

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