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Great Cygnet Christmas Cake Off 2021 winners announced!

After much deliberation from the judging panel, we are delighted to announce the winners of the 2021 Great Cygnet Christmas Cake Off!

We received 64 fabulous entries from across 37 Cygnet’s health and social care services. A huge thank you to everyone who took part and made this such a fun and accessible activity for service users and staff teams.

The competition was extremely high and the judges were blown away by all the entries and the team efforts made by service users and staff.

One of the judges, Sylvie Jordan, said “Each and every one of these cakes was fantastic – which made judging all the harder. We were truly impressed with the amount of service involvement and teamwork that had gone into making the cakes – from the initial brainstorming, through to the design, baking and finally the cake decorations. We have some fantastic cake designers in our midst! The only down-side for us was not being able to taste any of them!”

Caroline Davies, another judge, added “It was great seeing all the effort the Cygnet teams have put in to this competition. Well done teams and I hope they tasted as good as they looked.”

The cakes were all scored on service user engagement, design creativity and artistic ability.

So, without further ado, congratulations to our three winning entries from…

1st place – ‘Merry Elms-mas’ by Cygnet Elms

The team at Cygnet Elms said, “We have many keen bakers and talented service users here at Elms so we put together a Cake Off team. The team was made up of Caragh Allbright (Clinical Lead SLT for LD & Autism), Jade Myatt (Assistant Psychologist), Amie Reeves (SLT Assistant) and service user, Florence.

“We held a big “cake off meeting” the week before where we decided upon the theme, flavours and design for our cake. We decided we wanted to go big this year! So a 5 tier cake was our goal. We chose to go for the classics; Victoria Sponge and chocolate fudge cake. These are firm favourites of our service users and staff at Elms. After our meeting Florence created a brilliant “cake inspiration” document and we printed this off to inspire us on the day.”

“The overall theme was of course Christmas with Cygnet sprinkled in through the use of the Cygnet Values. We decorated each tier in the same colours as the Cygnet Values. And we dotted the “value baubles” around the cake. We also wanted to ensure that Elms was represented through the cake so we decided to put the faces of all of our service users on the gingerbread decorations on the Empower tier.

“On the day, our team took on the mighty challenge of baking and assembling a 5 tier cake, something neither of us had ever done before. Six hours and three Christmas playlists of music later… our masterpiece was finished. Some of our service users and staff joined us at the end to watch us add our final touches. This was a brilliant moment and everyone gave the cake off team a massive cheer and round of applause.

“Each service user loved seeing their faces on the cake and the best bit was, they each got to have a lovely big slice of cake with their face on. During the day the service users attended their weekly community meeting. We asked them to decide on a name for our cake, which they decided would be… “Merry ‘Elms’mas!”

“Throughout the day we had several service users and staff popping into the room to check the progress of the cake. Each one of them spurred us on with encouragement to keep going when our feet were hurting and our backs were aching from rolling out so much fondant! And just for the record, it tasted delicious!”

2nd place – ‘Wizard House’ by Cygnet Hospital Bury – Wizard Ward

The team at Wizard House said, “The young people at Wizard House have worked really hard on a chocolate brownie Reindeer Cake and white chocolate marshmallow Snowmen Cupcakes. In the background are some of the young people’s decorations too.

“They made the cakes and cupcakes alone (staff in the room but they did not help) and they made the majority of the decorations during self-led sessions with the help of our fabulous Activity Coordinator.

“Their inspiration was the main corridor to be a candy cane lane then the office to be a ginger bread house so they have made mini ones leading to the office.”

3rd place – ‘Merry Christmas Nightingale’ by Nightingale Residential Service

The team at Nightingale said, “The residents and staff at Nightingale were happy to enter The Great Cygnet Christmas Bake Off.

“It was a whole house activity, in which 8 out of 10 of our residents were involved at all stages of the cake making process (shopping, baking, decorating, describing and EATING!).

“Before the actual activities took place, Nightingale residents took part in a residents meeting, during which they chose to participate in the contest, putting their interest forward in an accessible pictorial form. Below is a photo of the on-site accessible poster created for the residents.

“The shopping trip, the baking and decorating were three separate activities to give the residents time and space they needed to enjoy being part of the project in their own rhythm. The residents were supported by staff, but staff had much fun being part of the project too!

“Following the cake making activities, the residents were provided with an accessible feedback form to describe the cake in their own perspective.

“The cake description and feedback below reflects residents’ own thoughts and feelings.

  • The name of our Christmas cake is: “Merry Christmas Nightingale”.
  • Nightingale Christmas Cake looks like: “a proper Christmas cake. Cake is really big. Square. Blue icing on the top. It looks like Ice Palace in Snow Land. Blue snowflakes and glitter star. It is very shiny.”
  • Nightingale Christmas cake tastes like: “It tastes really nice. Yummy. It was yummy for my tummy.”
  • How did we make the cake?: “We went shopping for the ingredients. We baked the cake in the oven. We used cake mix, eggs, milk, butter. We waited for the cake to cool down. We decorated the cake”
  • Who made the cake?: “We did. Residents and staff. We were taking turns”.

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