Comment by: Sue Wilkinson
Focus area: Volunteer events
Regulator concerned: Environmental Heath (Local Authority),Food Standards Agency (FSA)
I have been baking at home & “selling” in my garden for H4H. Aiming for £1,000, about £250 so far. (i was in food industry before & also nvq assessor in food hygiene etc). FSA says charity cakes etc not subject to the main regs & I understand that councils should apply a modicum of common sense. On principal I refused Derby CC to inspect my kitchen as they admit that they don’t bother with the fetes (where cakes have come from many kitchens & been transported in warm vehicles !), not that I think the council should interfere with these fetes either but they can’t cherry pick which charity event they want to pester.
I appeared in my local paper to raise the issue really with the intention of getting more donations for H4H & it sadly back- fired due to the nature of the report & inflammatory comments made by the Council suggesting I was increasing the risk to the community.
This all made me think of the Big Society that cannot exist whilst we have public bodies like this AND members of the public who feel the need to report someone for making cakes for wounded soldiers in the first place. Of course if the rules were clearer, not applied pettily / inconsistently and the Councils didn’t have a big stick to wave then it might lessen the incidents of “tell-telling” as there would be no-one to tell.
I have to add that I query the use of taxpayers money to employ someone to chase people like me & may I suggest this as a cut !!!!
As I write this I understand the Minister concerned has already contacted my local paper after I told my story to lovely representative yesterday.
So, thank you for that. I hope we can take this further but sadly my attempts at being part of the Big Society have been spoilt.