Creams British Luxury given the go-ahead for two new stores

first_imgArtisan café chain Creams British Luxury is to open two stores in Kent.A store in Canterbury is set to open this month, while one in the Bluewater shopping centre will open in February 2017.The stores will be the first in the county for the chain, which has outlets in Yorkshire cities Leeds and Huddersfield, as well as Manchester.A marble counter and crystal chandelier will display the Creams gift range, which will be on offer in both stores.The business said the counter will draw in shoppers to purchase colourful macarons, handmade chocolates, cupcakes, and cake pops.“Creams want to share passion for high quality and to make available luxurious yet affordable products,” the business says in a statement on its website.“Whatever the occasion, the giving and receiving of gifts is an exhilarating experience. We provide this service to all shoppers in shopping centres and high-footfall retail parks as we put theatre into our services and gift wrapping, providing shoppers with unique products and service.”last_img read more

Continue reading

Incredible Bakery set to increase Northamptonshire operation

first_imgWholesale craft business The Incredible Bakery Company is set to expand its site in Warkton, Northamptonshire.A £20,000 loan from finance and business support provider First Enterprise will enable The Incredible Bakery’s owners, Valeria and James Turner, to purchase new equipment and take on staff to support expansion.“The loan from First Enterprise has enabled us to not only invest in new equipment but also help cover cashflow during this period,” Valeria said.The business was set up in 2013 by the Turners after they discovered that their son Leon was affected by multiple food allergies. All their baked products are gluten-free, dairy-free; egg-free and soya-free, and the business does not process any of the 14 common food allergens as described by EC regulations.Victoria Copestake, business development manager at First Enterprise, said the company was proud to support Valeria and James.“Cashflow is a common issue for growing businesses and First Enterprise is here to help other businesses across the Midlands whether they need funding and advice to help them get started or to invest in new premises or equipment,” Copestake added.last_img read more

Continue reading

The Bakery Project Part 5: Selecting A Product Range

first_imgIn part five of the Bakery Project, we explore how to develop and adapt ranges to maximise salesThe shining stars of any bakery are its products. Customers live for the sight – and smell – of rows of freshly-baked loaves, cakes and buns, so ensuring you stock a good range of products is vital.This, inevitably, varies from bakery to bakery and even locations within the same company. So how do you decide on the bread and butter of your business? Should loaves take centre stage, or is the spotlight reserved for something sweeter? And, with what’s in fashion forever changing, how do you stay relevant?A selection of breads, traditional cakes and treats such as brownies are likely to make an appearance in most portfolios, but think carefully about the occasions for which customers will visit the bakery.“There are a few items that are automatic, especially if they are trying to attract breakfast customers,” believes Terry Morgan, director at London’s Debaere, which provides pastries and desserts to coffee shops, retailers and bakeries.“Croissants and Danish pastries are always a good start in this instance, then we try to look at creating a good mix of products for them to draw from so they can always have a staple, such as Victoria sponge, and then have specials from time to time.”Bristol-based Pinkmans needed a menu that could work for breakfast, lunch, afternoon and through to the evening.“The concept was an all-day menu based around bread-making and baking and the oven,” says Steven Whibley, co-founder of the bakery. “This gave us a good range, but also kept a purity to the menu. The challenge was to combine three kitchen sections – bread, patisserie and savoury – so they complemented each other.”Items on Pinkmans’ menu include slow-fermentation sourdoughs – white, country cob, seeded sour and baguettes – with a heavy focus on toast and bacon sandwiches at breakfast alongside sweeter items such as brioches. Filled focaccia and ciabatta complement soups and stews at lunch, with traditional afternoon tea fare served later.“We felt the evenings needed a simple idea to work – ‘it’s pizza!’. With ovens and dough-making being central and most of the ingredients already in the menu, it was not a big stretch,” he adds.Just because something doesn’t fit into the workflow of your kitchen, doesn’t mean you can’t sell it. Many bakers opt to buy in lines from specialists rather than shell out on new equipment or dedicate the time to producing certain items. This is also a good option for those catering to specialist diets, such as gluten free, which is regulated strictly (see box out p26).%%Quote_32%%“Croissants and Danish pastries are much easier to source as they take a long time to make,” adds Morgan. “Typically –with mixing, shaping, proving, baking and cooling – they can take up to 12 hours. Also, a lot of cafés have limited kitchen space, so buying in complete products makes sense.”Reading-based Warings Bakery, which was established in 1932, buys in hot savoury pies and sausage rolls.“This is purely due to production restraints as we neither have the facilities nor equipment to produce in accordance with the law,” explains Daniel Carr, PR manager at Warings.For Joe’s Bakery in Bristol, meat savoury pastries are by far the largest group of bought-in products. They come from a variety of suppliers, offering consumers different price points, and most are bought frozen raw, then baked-off in the shop.“We use Warrens for our Cornish pasties and Penny Lane Foods for sausage rolls and savoury slices. Premium pies and sausage rolls are purchased from a local butcher who has recently established a pie and sausage roll facility. These are starting to sell very well, even though they are sold at premium prices,” explains Martin Hunt of Joe’s Bakery.Products from Clark’s Pies, a long-established Bristol pie bakery, are also stocked, alongside bhajis and samosas purchased fresh from a local supplier, which Hunt believes differentiates it from the supermarkets.“Our shop is situated in an area with a wide-ranging customer base and our bought-in product range reflects that mix,” he says. “Most of the savouries are eaten out of home and we have a large number of customers who buy daily or very frequently. In order to help prevent menu boredom, we offer a wide range of products and price marks, including a very competitive meal deal.”Another way to prevent menu boredom is to innovate. But knowing which trends to tap can be tricky as there’s a careful balance to be struck between weird and wonderful and just plain weird.“Innovation needs to be built into the structure of the business for it to work,” explains Whibley. Because of this, Pinkmans has many seasonal and monthly variations of basic items, such as doughnuts, sweet tarts and special breads. “We thinks it’s important to give the customer a mix of changing items and steadfast classics,” Whibley adds.Warings, meanwhile, considers all of its NPD to be a temporary addition to the range unless the sales convince otherwise. “We never consider a new product to be a permanent line,” says Carr. “Instead it’s used to enhance the range, add interest, offer an alternative, reflect the seasons and, hopefully, encourage additional impulse sales. If a product proves very popular, then we may decide to add it permanently, for example our Mars Bar slice which is now one of our best-sellers.”This method also has other benefits, notes Hunt from Joe’s Bakery. “Suitable products are put on sale as a ‘special’ or ‘seasonal’, or sometimes included in one of our national or British regional months. This gives us the opportunity to withdraw the line if it is not too successful without it looking like a failure,” he says. “A decision is then made on whether to carry on producing the line and whether it should be a daily, two/three-times a week or as a weekend special.”Hunt suggests monitoring trends across a variety of mediums, whether TV shows, newspaper supplements, social media or by getting out and about. The street food scene, in particular, is lucrative when it comes to recipe inspiration.Maximising information from food ingredients manufacturers and suppliers, he adds, is also valuable as they can provide a wider view of the market and trends within it and help deliver products in keeping with them. He advises bakers to also look at the trends impacting the wider food and drink market, particularly health-based ones, as, in many cases, it’s only a matter of time before it influences the bakery market.%%Quote_33%%It’s not always a case of looking for the next new thing, either. “Quite a lot of the time we find that it’s old favourites making a comeback, a forgotten star of the past or for nostalgia,” says Warings’ Carr. “Of course, for us that’s great, we can just dust off one of our tried-and-tested recipes and hit the ground running.”Not all trends are equal and some won’t have the longevity that has been seen with cupcakes, premium doughnuts and even unicorns. Monitor your sales, advises Whibley, adding that any products selling under 10 a day would be under scrutiny.“Normally, we monitor the sales of products that are in decline and either try to revitalise sales by making improvements, or we may put it on sale just two or three times a week,” says Hunt, noting it comes down to old-fashioned judgement.While profitability is crucial, not all lines have to sell like hot cakes.“We will sometimes continue to produce a slow-selling line if it provides benefits other than simply profit. Such benefits may be breads that have a ‘wow’ factor when on display, or breads that appeal to members of particular nationalities who come in for their own ‘national’ bread, but spend good money on other products as well,” says Hunt.Speak to your customers, find out what they want, adapt and deliver. Bean counting: the value of a good coffee offerBrits down 95 million cups of coffee daily in the UK, according to the British Coffee Association, so little wonder hot beverages are an important  part of most bakery retailers’ offer.“Consumers want the convenience of a one-stop shop to be able to get their food and drink at the same time,” says Daniel Carr, PR manager at Warings Bakery, Reading.Coffee and tea are an essential part of any eat-in offer, believes Steven Whibley, founder of  Bristol’s PInkmans Bakery. “Having a beverage offer to match the quality of the food menu was always a key part of our concept,” he says, adding that his business is also seeing strong growth in sales of fruit and veg juices produced on-site.Hot beverages can boost local sourcing credentials, with Sussex bakery business Foodhaven buying from a local roastery. Bristol-based Joe’s Bakery uses a well-established local coffee roaster, Brian Wogan, to match the quality of the large number of nearby coffee shops.“Until last year we used a different supplier and a beans-to-cup machine, but realised that we had to up our game,” explains owner Martin Hunt.“We didn’t hesitate to go to Wogan [Coffee] for a barista-style machine and coffee. They provided us with excellent help, guidance and training, as well as great coffee, of course.”Being trained in the art of coffee-making is becoming an increasingly integral skill as competition in the coffee market grows, says Barry Kither, away-from-home sales and marketing director at Lavazza UK.He adds, however, that technology means it is now possible to serve barista-quality coffee without employing barista-qualified staff. Capsule-based solutions – the fastest-growing part of the Lavazza offer – means business can offer consistent quality in a cost-effective way, he claims.“In addition to this, the equipment Lavazza supplies has a temperature-controlled steam arm, which is a key element for non-specialists in the coffee sector as the milk foaming element is a tricky skill to master,” says Kither.Warings Bakery is currently sourcing a new supplier for its coffee and machines, a process it is taking great care with. “It’s a long process, as I’m finding out, with copious amounts of coffee drinking. Coffee is still on-trend and consumers know what they like,” says Carr.“We want to find a company that has the same values as ourselves and mirrors the care and quality of its product and services as we do.” 21st century snacking: popcorn, fruit and premium crispsSnacks have come a long way from shoppers grabbing a packet of salt and vinegar crisps to go with their lunchtime sausage roll.While there is still a role for standard crisps in the traditional popular flavours, snacking is being transformed by trends that are also impacting the wider bakery market: health and premiumisation.Vhari Russell, founder of The Food Marketing expert, suggests bakers offer a variety of products, such as popcorn, crisps, fruit snacks, and fruit.“It would be great to ensure you offer something different to stand out, and source locally if you can,” she says, advising businesses should avoid large minimum orders and consider using a distributor to reduce administration.Quality and provenance of ingredients has become all-important, according to Katy Hamblin, marketing manager of Pipers Crisps. “Consumers are actively seeking great-tasting snacks in preference to mediocre, commonplace fare whenever there’s a choice.The good news is that consumers are willing to pay more for the right snack. “For them, it’s not about the price; much more important is the value they get from the quality of the food and the brand itself,” says Hamblin. “This is excellent news for bakers and café owners as it creates an opportunity to make a real point of difference by premiumising your offer.”When it comes to health, Britain’s biggest crisps brand, Walkers, is tapping the trend with launches such as Sunbites Nut Mixes, containing dried fruit and nuts, as well as seasoned nut mixes, and Snack-a-Jacks mini rice cakes.Pipers, meanwhile, recently launched Pipers Crispeas, based on British peas that are naturally low in calories and a source of protein and fibre. “It is a must to offer healthier lines and products specific to kids,” says Russell. “It is important to offer variety and products to encourage healthier living.”Sales will be driven by stocking brands with a strong shelf presence, say suppliers.“Eye-catching packaging backed up by a dependable brand name and impeccable credentials are important,” says Hamblin, adding that branded point-of-sale materials and equipment can help to promote snacks.Russell suggests allowing shoppers to sample snacks to encourage purchase, and keeping merchandising simple, with wooden crates or baskets to display products near the counter.Rising to the challenge of gluten-freeThe gluten-free juggernaut shows no sign of slowing, with supermarket sales of gluten-free baked goods up 17.5% year-on-year in 2017 [Kantar Worldpanel]. And businesses are continuing to invest in the market, with Village Bakery just announcing development of a £12m free-from factory (see p4).But for a bakery hoping to take a slice of the burgeoning market for itself, there are major obstacles.“The problem with gluten-free products is that wheat gives you everything you need for baking,” says Małgorzata Gieblewicz, marketing manager at The Polish Bakery, adding that ensuring taste and quality were not compromised was a priority for the business when it expanded into gluten-free goods.“The process of gluten-free baking is much more complicated, so there is a technical challenge. To achieve similar results you need a mixture of starch, proteins and gluten-free flour, and finding the best possible certified suppliers was a time-consuming process.”As for the issue of cross-contamination with gluten-containing goods and ingredients, The Polish Bakery opted to produce its free-from bread in a separate facility, as many manufacturers do. In addition, the business has segregated storage areas, invested in specialist training for staff producing the free-from goods, and undertakes regular testing.Gail’s Bakery also has a dedicated facility for its gluten-free sourdough. The business adds that getting a good crust and great taste has proved difficult but has been achieved by using a blend of gluten-free flours.For many businesses, sourcing gluten-free products from a third party is the solution to catering for special dietary needs.“Our bought-in items include gluten-free bread and confectionery from a local family bakery with a specialist production room,” explains Martin Hunt of Joe’s Bakery in Bristol.But gluten-free isn’t for every business, as attested by Daniel Carr of Warings Bakery.“We have tried, on several occasions, to tap into the gluten-free market, but as we’re unable to produce this ourselves, we had to buy in product,” he says.“After several attempts, we came to the conclusion that consumers don’t consider their local family bakers on the high street as a gluten-free specialist, choosing dedicated gluten-free cafés, delis and bakeries or online retailers instead.”last_img read more

Continue reading

Budget 2018: here’s what bakers need to know

first_imgBakeries may be left counting the cost of a proposed plastics levy and an increase in national living wage following yesterday’s Autumn Budget 2018 (29 October).High street bakeries are among the businesses that will be taxed for using plastic which is not as least 30% recycled, according to the Treasury.The proposed levy, announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond, aims to reduce the “scourge of plastic” littering the planet and oceans, and would apply to the production and import of plastic packaging from April 2022.The Chancellor said further detail and an implementation timetable would follow consultation before adding that there would be no tax on single-use takeaway cups.A 25p charge on disposable cups was recommended by the Environmental Audit Committee in March after it emerged that the UK throws away 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year with almost none recycled and half a million a day littered.However, Hammond concluded that a tax in isolation would “not at this point, deliver a decisive shift from disposable to reusable cups across all beverage types”.“I will monitor carefully the effectiveness of the action the takeaway drinks industry is already taking to reduce single-use plastics and I will return to this issue if sufficient progress is not mad,” he said.Ian WrightCBE, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation, warned that the plastics proposals could mean increased costs for the industry.“While we are committed to reducing packaging waste and working with government, today’s new tax on plastic packaging will result in significantly increased costs for UK food and drink manufacturers, due to the input costs required to produce food-grade recycled packaging,” he said.“However the shadow of Brexit, and in particular a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, hangs over the food and drink industry and gets darker every day. While that remains the case, it is hard to see how we can long continue with business – or politics – as usual.”The Chancellor also confirmed that the National Living Wage would increase from April 2019 from £7.83 an hour to £8.21, equating to a £690 annual pay rise for a full-time worker.Meanwhile, Wright said food and drink manufacturers – 97% of whom are SMEs – would welcome the Chancellor’s announcements on exports, infrastructure, enterprise and business rates, among other things.In the Budget, Hammond announced that small retail businesses in England with a rateable value of £51,000 or less would see their business rates bills cut by a third for two years from 2019. This would amount to an annual saving of up to £8,000 for up to 90% of all independent shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes, he said. The VAT threshold for small businesses has also been frozen for two years.“Through the Budget, the Chancellor is now using the strength of the Treasury to back small business,” said Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses.“We have already seen a significant change of tone in recent months towards helping businesses, right from the top of Government, and today represents the change of policy that backs this up. This is long due recognition that small firms are the UK’s job creators and community leaders. The productivity challenge for this country will only be resolved by backing small business, and today marks an important step to achieve this.”last_img read more

Continue reading

Fears over financial burden of waste proposals

first_imgGovernment proposals that could see packaging producers pay the full cost of recycling will place a “considerable financial burden” on manufacturers, the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has warned.The proposals were part of the new Resources and Waste Strategy which was unveiled yesterday (18 December) by environment secretary Michael Gove.It also includes Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), which will see the industry pay higher fees if products are harder to reuse, repair or recycle. The EPR for packaging is expected to raise between £500m and £1bn a year.In response, the FDF raised concerns about the cost associated with these initiatives.“Many of the measures being suggested by Defra will place considerable financial burdens on food and drink manufacturers, and SMEs in particular. The timing of such an announcement also needs to be considered alongside the spectre of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit scenario which still looms large over our industry,” an FDF spokesperson said.“It is important that the government engages closely with the food and drink industry as it begins to consult on these measures, particularly given the work already being done across the supply chain to tackle such issues as food waste and packaging.”Packaging manufacturer Macpac also raised concerns that the strategy places extra burden on plastic converters, but hopes the proposals will bring the UK up to speed with the rest of Europe.“What is certain is that despite all the hard efforts of packaging manufacturers to develop recyclable and biodegradable materials… the waste management infrastructure in the UK lags behind the rest of Europe,” said Macpac sales manager Simon Firth.“There are 388 councils in the UK and around 50 different collection systems, with little uniformity when it comes to waste collection. There is confusion amongst the public when it comes to kerbside collection. Where is the sense in a local authority taking all plastics while another cherry picks?”The government is hoping to address this by simplifying household recycling collections through the introduction of a consistent set of recyclable materials collected from all households and businesses, as well as consistent labelling on packaging so consumers know what can be recycled.This plan was welcomed by director of the Federation of Bakers Gordon Polson as it “gives us the opportunity to encourage all local authorities to collect bread bags and recycle them”. Bread bags are recyclable but are collected alongside carrier bags at supermarkets rather than via a kerbside collection service.last_img read more

Continue reading

Increasing costs bring end of Choccywoccydoodah

first_imgCake business Choccywoccydoodah has ceased trading and closed its stores in Brighton and Covent Garden.“Challenging trading conditions” have prompted the directors to instruct advisory firm Quantuma to place the business into Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation.Founded in 2001, Choccywoccydoodah was a specialist chocolatier, famous for designing and creating bespoke cakes. The company was established in Brighton, where it operated a store on Meeting House Lane, as well as running an outlet in Covent Garden, London.In 2009, it secured a deal to supply Selfridges Food Halls across the country with a collection of cakes, including personalised wedding and celebration cakes. From 2011 to 2014 it featured in a self-titled documentary series that followed staff producing cakes for a list of celebrities. All operations have now ceased, and both its Brighton and Covent Garden stores have closed.“Due to financial difficulties as a result of a challenging trading environment, increased costs and declining margins, Quantuma has been instructed by the directors to assist in placing the company into liquidation,” said Sean Bucknall, partner at Quantuma.“Quantuma has been in contact with customers that have been affected and will endeavour to make this as smooth a process as possible for all stakeholders.”Brighton & Hove Independent reported that the closure had left a number of customers without wedding cakes and out of pocket, as they had placed orders with the business. It added that a group of 40 cake-makers in the Sussex area had come together to help those customers by offering them a wedding cake at a reduced price.last_img read more

Continue reading

Dawn Foods names Garry Russell as sales director

first_imgDawn Foods has appointed Garry Russell to the role of sales director for distributive accounts.A trained baker, Russell has more than 20 years’ technical and commercial bakery experience and has worked with Dawn Foods for the nine years.In his new role, he will lead Dawn’s distributive accounts team in the continued development of existing and new business opportunities.“I am delighted to be taking up this new position in Dawn Foods,” said Russell. “We have just celebrated 30 years of business in the UK and Ireland and Dawn Foods globally will be celebrating its centenary next year.“In the UK, we’ve made significant investments in terms of people and infrastructure to create an excellent platform for continued growth. As always, Dawn’s customers are at the heart of everything we do and I’m looking forward to working closely with our distributive customer-partners in my new role.”Dawn Foods last month marked its 30th anniversary of trading in the UK with a party at its Evesham HQ that was attended by all staff, Dawn board directors, Dawn senior management and local dignitaries.The business recently installed a new filling and packing system that utilises robot palletisation to boost efficiency at the site, which manufactures sweet bakery products, including dry mixes, bases and concentrates.last_img read more

Continue reading

Katsu noodle toastie created by Frankie’s and Chopstix

first_imgSource: Frankie’s ToastiesManchester-based Frankie’s Toasties has teamed up with Chopstix to create a katsu and noodle toastie.Available for one week only, the new toastie will celebrate National Katsu Day on 27 September.The toastie comprises signature Chopstix breaded chicken katsu curry and fresh noodles between two slices of white Kingsmill toasted bread.Vegetarian customers can try the breaded pumpkin version, smothered in katsu sauce.The katsu noodle toastie will be available for an rsp of £4.50 at Frankie’s Toasties.Chopstix, a Pan-Asian noodle bar, notes katsu is one of its most popular dishes. It is currently developing a bottled version of the sauce.Frankie’s Toasties, which dubbed itself ‘the UK’s first toastie restaurant’ was founded in Manchester in 2018. With almost forty different toastie combinations, diners can choose sweet or savoury fillings from the original classic cheese, bloody Mary or super noodles, to S’mores, Hong Kong toast or apples & custard.The toastie restaurant is open seven days a week from 8am-5pm on Monday-Saturday and 9am-5pm on Sundays.last_img read more

Continue reading

Reduced sugar NPD to drive growth in bakery, report finds

first_imgSource: Getty ImagesA heightened interest in health and wellbeing is fuelling demand for reduced sugar and calorie products, new research shows.The European Bakery Industry report, commissioned by Tate & Lyle, surveyed 400 senior bakery professionals across Germany, France, Spain and the UK.As many as 73% of respondents said foods with a lower sugar and calorie content were “the biggest driver of business growth”. It comes as Mr Kipling adds Viennese Whirls to its reduced sugar range, following the launch of 30% Less Sugar Angel, Chocolate and Lemon slices in 2019.The study found that more than two thirds (74%) of respondents were reducing the calorie content of products, 71% were cutting sugar levels and 54% were driving down fat levels. Meanwhile, more than half (54%) were focussed on free-from products, and 48% were looking to improve the product-consumption experience. The survey, which polled bakery executives in roles ranging from production and sales to research and development, HR and marketing, also revealed that 51% believed consumers were more likely to choose foods that offer additional nutritional benefits, such as added protein and added fibre.And 44% said a substantial proportion would be willing to pay more for healthy and nutritious foods, while 34% claimed shoppers were increasingly looking beyond the labels on products for details of nutritional contents.“More and more people are looking for ways to stay healthy and improve their wellbeing, a trend that has been building for a while and continues to grow,” said Olivier Kutz, category development manager, Tate & Lyle, Europe.“Paying more for products with enriched nutritional benefits has accelerated, as consumers gain interest in, and understanding of, exactly what is in the products they buy. A heightened awareness of healthier diets and the long-term health implications of the Covid-19 pandemic has also meant people spending more time at home and taking up baking as a hobby are wanting to use healthier products where possible.”Food and drink companies in the UK are working towards voluntary sugar reduction targets, as laid out by government agency Public Health England. Recent figures revealed progress in cakes and biscuits remained well below the 20% reduction outlined for 2020, versus a baseline of 2015.last_img read more

Continue reading

RSU 73 Board of Directors implements mental health safety plan for winter sports

first_imgJAY – Regional School Unit 73 Board of Directors voted to approve winter sports Tuesday evening, with the exception of wrestling which has been put on hold throughout the state. The vote overrides their Dec. 11 decision to not allow athlete participation in any sports.The announcement a week and a half ago that student athletes would not be allowed to practice or compete with their teammates brought opposition from people throughout the community, including students, parents, and even local business owners. A petition was started by students, and a special meeting for Tuesday evening was scheduled soon after.“I’m a homeschooling mom, and we don’t even utilize RSU 73 sports. But I’m also a small business owner, and I’ve been watching this happen from within- hearing from the community on a daily basis,” Betsy Mancine said. “The board has an incredible opportunity and, I believe, a responsibility, to help these students.”Mancine was one of several health professionals to speak to the issue during the public comment portion of the meeting. Physician Michele Knapp also read a statement, saying she was asked to give her professional opinion.“I am concerned about the well being of students, and the community at large…students have been wearing masks and following guidelines better than we expected. We need to give them something active and something to look forward to,” Knapp said.In response to the overwhelming concern voiced by parents, professionals and students alike, board member Joel Pike suggested adding an element of mental health fitness to the routine of Spruce Mountain athletes. The additional guideline would require all teams to dedicate at least 25 percent of weekly practice to activities that enhance mental health.“We need to listen to what we’ve been told. These students need help. They need our support. We need to step up and recognize [the concerns] and put those supports in place to help them,” Pike said.Those activities could be centered around coping skills, or reframing, or focusing on the larger community, Pike said, but regardless, teams would be expected to report back to the board on a monthly basis.The motion was approved unanimously, and will apply to all sports.All sports, with the exception of wrestling which was tabled until further notice, were approved for winter programming following all of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and Center for Disease Control safety guidelines.last_img read more

Continue reading