Gingerbread house competition taken to a new level by Safe in Sussex supporters

Safe in Sussex supporters took the charity’s Gingerbread House Fun Day to a new level this year, the third year the competition has run.

Sales of the houses soared to 608, raising around £3,500, and demand was so great, the charity had to take a break in orders to ensure packs could be safely delivered in time to give competitors two weeks to complete their creations.

In previous years, local businesses and groups have taken part but this year, the charity decided to create a second option, where families and friends could decorate a smaller house.

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Winner of the business competition was Janet Webb from Janet Webb Consulting in Littlehampton.

Littlehampton management trainer and mentor Janet Webb won the competition with this Kintsugi-inspired design

She said: “I was absolutely delighted to win and I very nearly didn’t enter at all, because life is so busy at the moment. But I had such a good time last year that at the last minute, I changed my mind, and I was so glad I did because it’s such a delightful thing to take part in.

“But more importantly, the competition supports a charity that is close to my heart, for very personal reasons. Christmas can be pressured for anyone and for those living in difficult circumstances, this year has been particularly so and will continue to be so.

“I hope Safe in Sussex continues to be there for those who need it.”

Janet’s house was inspired by Kintsugi, the art of repairing broken pottery with silver or gold lacquer, thus making it more beautiful in its brokenness, reflecting the way Safe in Sussex helps people to find a way through and to feel safe and whole again.

Mumpreneurs Networking Club came third with this design

Worthing firm Rayner Intraocular Lenses came second and Mumpreneurs Networking Club came third with a Lego-inspired design

Judges were Fay Millar from Brighton Cakes, which makes the gingerbread packs, and Lesley Grove Williams, Safe in Sussex trustee.

Fay said: “It’s been an absolute hoot and pleasure once again working with Safe in Sussex to produce their gingerbread house kits. It’s been so amazing to see the creativity and imagination of everyone involved. We’ve loved every second of it and look forward to even bigger abs better gingerbread houses next year.”

Lesley added: “It was lovely opening up the fun to the public and also meeting all the businesses on Zoom for the decorating competition, some for the third consecutive year.

“All funds raised are much needed. It has been an incredibly challenging year for us, with increased demand for our services because of lockdown. We are therefore deeply grateful for all the support that this year’s participants have given us.”

For the individuals, couples and families taking part, there was no judging but Safe in Sussex hosted a Zoom event to allow people to show off their finished houses and enjoy some festive fun.

In previous years, the competition houses have been given to the charity’s refuges but this year, everyone was able to keep them to reduce the risk of infection. Extra gingerbread houses were given to the women and children in the refuges instead, for them to decorate and enjoy.

Debbie West, community and corporate fundraiser for Safe in Sussex, said: “Our annual gingerbread house decorating competition has been well supported yet again but this time not just by local businesses and groups but by individuals and families.

“They have helped us raise funds and awareness of the work of Safe in Sussex. This year we were determined that despite the pandemic the event would go ahead. I am so grateful that Fay Millar has once again stepped up to the challenge to create and bake the gingerbread houses flat packs for the event.

“Like many charities, fundraising during a pandemic is a challenge and we are truly thankful that so many got involved to help us to continue to be there for those in our community who are impacted by domestic abuse.”