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Local college and reality star team up for homeless charity

Masterchef and Gogglebox reality star, Reverend Kate Bottley showcased her culinary skills at a bake-off event to support a Christmas campaign aimed at highlighting the issue of homelessness.

Gateshead College played host to the Oasis Aquila Housing gingerbread bake-off, held at its Baltic Campus, which saw Rev. Kate go head-to-head with the deputy principal, Chris Toon in a competition to produce the tastiest baked goods.

The event launched the Oasis Aquila Housing’s ‘Giving A Home’ Christmas campaign, which runs from November until January and aims to raise awareness and funding for the homelessness charity. ‘Giving A Home’ aims to encourage local people, community groups and businesses to get involved in their fundraising efforts over the festive period by holding gingerbread bake sales.

Reverend Kate, who is a patron for the charity, was crowned the winning ginger-bread baker at the event. She said: “Supporting the ‘Giving A Home’ campaign is a fantastic way to help disadvantaged people this Christmas. Nobody should be alone and cold at this time of year, and by getting involved, people can help to prevent that.

“There are plenty of ways to get involved with the campaign, baking biscuits, to donating, or giving up free time. It is a massive help, and could mean the best Christmas present for someone – a home.”

Gateshead College and its students pledged to bake and donate hundreds of gingerbread men to sell and fundraise to help Oasis Aquila Housing continue to provide support and services to vulnerable men and women in the region. Creative film students have also produced a promotional video for the charity to use in its fundraising efforts.

Chris Toon, deputy principal at Gateshead College said: “We are delighted to be supporting Oasis Aquila Housing’s campaign. It’s fantastic that our students will be involved in a local cause that will have such a positive impact on helping many vulnerable men and women access housing and other support.

“The gingerbread bake off was a fantastic event as it was great to meet the charity’s patron, Kate Bottley, and to hear first-hand all about the inspiring work they do to help the homeless.”

Attendees at the event also had the chance to win a range of prizes, which included a Toshiba Satellite Pro laptop for the winner of the name a gingerbread competition, donated by United Carlton printing solutions. The company are further supporting the charity by donating a 40inch TV which will be used as a prize during the campaign. Three lucky students also won an Amazon Echo, donated by Smart IT, a Chromebook, donated by James Percy, director of Mainstream digital, and a meal for four at Enfields Kitchen, donated by Gateshead College.

The judging panel included Phil Conn, head of crisis services for the homelessness charity, Gateshead College catering student Jess Snowdon and a member of the audience.

There are several ways for people to support the campaign, including baking gingerbread men and selling them to family and friends, hosting fundraising days, donating to the campaign, and volunteering.

To find out more about the giving a home campaign, and key dates, please visit


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