FAMILIES who struggle to give their children a birthday cake can now put a smile back on their faces with the help of a new charity.

Free Cakes For Kids is part of an international initiative to support families in the community by asking volunteers to bake cakes for children for their birthdays. A keen baker herself, Laura Hogg founded the charity in Swindon after hearing about how some children have to go without.

The 34-year-old from Tunnicliffe Close said: “I always had birthday cakes as a child but some children don’t receive them, and it’s such a simple thing that can really put a smile on their face.

“My mum was always making cakes as a child and it is something that I wanted to do, so one day I bought a book on baking. Since then it’s become my standard wedding gift to make the cake.”

Laura, who is a citizenship manager at Nationwide, decided to set up the charity after hearing about the initiative from a colleague.

She said: “One of my colleagues is part of the Free Cakes For Kids in Newbury, and because the volunteers can only make cakes to send so far, she realised that there wasn’t anything for children in Swindon.

“I enjoy baking anyway and I’ve made birthday cakes and wedding cakes for my friends so it seemed like something I’d like to do.”

Any child who would not otherwise receive a birthday cake is eligible.

Families can refer themselves to receive a cake by filling out a form or getting in touch, and they can also be referred by other people and organisations.

The referral form should include information such as what the cake is for, and the child’s hobbies and interests, to help the volunteer bake the perfect cake.

The cake will then be delivered either to the child or to the organisation that referred the family.

Referrals should be made with at least two weeks notice of the birthday.

So far Laura has 20 volunteer bakers on hand to provide the cakes to children, and now she is hoping to hear from companies and organisations who can help support their work.

She said: “There are some volunteers who just bake at home and make cakes for their families or take cupcakes into work and there are others who bake more professionally, so a range of different kinds of bakers take part.

“Now we just want to hear from charities or organsations who want to get involved or know of families who could benefit, and from bigger organisations who might donate cake tins, or ingredients to help.”

For more information call Laura on 07886 563919 or email freecakesforkidsswindon@gmail.com.

Alternatively visit freecakes-swindon.org.uk or ‘like’ their Facebook page at facebook.com/free cakesforkidsswindon.