George and Lucy Welton, the team behind Leeds’ brownie business Brown & Blond, celebrate 11 years of baking widely-lauded brownies this month, with a philanthropic promise to support Leeds-based community cause Angels of Freedom.
The company currently bakes up and sells around 30,000 brownies every week and, having worked hard this past year, B&B has seen these efforts pay off as the business continued to grow through lockdown. After not being able to celebrate their decade in business during the pandemic, celebrations were deferred to its 11th birthday instead. It is marking this milestone through a commitment to donating 15% of all online retail sales through June to Angels of Freedom, a community-based initiative organised by volunteers bringing a caring LGBT+ scene to Leeds. Supported by Leeds City Council, British Transport Police and West Yorkshire Police, Angels of Freedom’s aim is to provide visible LGBT+ support in the Freedom Quarter of Leeds every Friday evening.
Rob Wilson, Founder, Angels of Freedom: “We really appreciate this opportunity to collaborate with Brown & Blond this Pride Month to financially support us to deliver Mental Health First Aid training again. This course is being delivered to representatives from a number of LGBT+ community groups to increase the grassroot support for each other when experiencing mental health crisis.
“I launched the Angels of Freedom back in December 2017 to minimise risk and vulnerability for those on a night out on the LGBT+ bar scene, and to promote alternative social opportunities in Leeds to build connections in the community. Our Friday evening street team is the most visible of our activities, but we also work with a range of other organisations to improve service delivery and outcomes for LGBT+ people.”
Lucy Welton, Brown & Blond co-owner: “We are donating 15% of every online retail brownie box sold throughout Pride month 1st – 30th June to help fund Mental Health First Aid training (MHFA England) for volunteers of Angels of Freedom. Their aim is to provide visible support for the LGBTQ+ community based in the Freedom Quarter area of Leeds every Friday evening.”
George Welton, Brown & Blond co-owner, added: “The last 15 months have certainly been testing. Like many others when lockdown one hit, we took the decision to safeguard our staff and ourselves. We furloughed our team, but myself and a then-pregnant Lucy decided to carry on in whatever capacity we could to keep B&B going.
“Whilst wholesale was stripped to almost nothing, we saw a surge in demand for online sales, flipping our business on its head. We quickly realised how important it was to keep going when we saw how many of our boxes were being sent to friends and family of people who hadn’t seen each other in a long time but wanted to send a gift to show their love.
“When covid cases started to dip we re-introduced staff back into the bakery enabling us to keep up with online demand along with an influx of new wholesale enquiries. Demand for online sales remained high so we brought on another four full-time members of staff, who are now integral to business operation.
“The support from all of our customers throughout the last year has been truly humbling. It’s definitely made us stronger as a business and a team; we have built some great relationships with new and existing customers which I am sure will continue to prosper post-covid.”
Learn more about Angels of Freedom and the work they do at www.angelsoffreedom.org.uk.