With commscampnorth coming we’re putting the faces to the names of some of the people you’ll see on the day.
In this post, Kate Bentham, who works for Shropshire Council who for the past eight years has ran the cake stall. Attendees are asked to bake or bring a shop-bought cake with them. Cakes are then sold and each slice raises money for a good cause. This year? MacMillan Cancer.
Hi Kate. What’s your day job?
I work in local government with a focus on communicating information to families.
This includes families of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities; families who may need some early help to stop challenges escalating and families who are generally looking for information to help them in their role as a parent or to help their children.
Having access to information can really make a difference to family life and it’s something I have been involved in for over 18 years.
If you could do one thing to improve the public sector what would it be?
Never forget who you’re working for. Frontline workers have this sorted, but I think there are managers and leaders who, due to the nature of their role, are detached or out of touch with people and this must make decision making a challenge.
How many years have you been coming to commscamp?
I am lucky enough to have attended every single commscamp and commscampnorth. I was asked to be Official Cake Monitor for the first commscamp and have clung onto the role ever since.
No two commscamps have been the same, and they have evolved over the years. The wider public sector is well represented, there’s always plenty of first timers in attendance, and pitches alter to reflect the changing nature of comms, technology and budget.
What tips do you have for the first time attendee?
I always think that you get for something what you are prepared to put into it, so get involved. Share and give what you can and take from the room what you need.
I always come away from commscamp with a new idea, or a clearer way of thinking, or a new contact.
Why is there a cake stall at commscampnorth?
There’s been a cake table at every commscamp since it started. Chatting over a piece of cake is a very sociable way to spend time and get to know someone. Something which we have found to be true at commscamp.
We also use the cake table as a way of raising money for charity – have a slice a cake, chuck some money in a donation bucket. Win, win. Our lovely attendees have raised over £1000 for charity, and long may this continue.
What’s your favourite cake?
My favourite at the moment is courgette, lime and pistachio. My all-time favourite is my late nan’s banana and walnut loaf.
What tips to you have for first timers when it comes to baking?
Just please bake. A simple traybake, or batch of fairy cakes will go down just as well as a Mary Berry show stopper. The fact is comms people like cake, and lots of it, and so we need as many people as possible to bake.
We have prizes up for grabs for our bakers, one overall Star Baker and 3 runners up prizes. You have to bake to be in with a chance of winning.
Seriously though don’t stress about it if you can’t bake or don’t have the time, a shop bought cake is just as welcome.
What’s your best memory of the event?
My best memories are when the cake creations start arriving in the morning. I am in awe of the skills our bakers have. From the Willy Wonka cake, to ice cream cones cakes, to ‘Weird Shit’ and last year’s gin and tonic cake, we’ve had some delicious cakes for us all to try and I am sure this year will be the same.
I also have fond memories of the time my strawberry and coconut cake was described as looking like sweaty meat.
You will find Kate on the day by the cake stall.