15-year-old Leah* has been living at Heysham House for only three months but her artistic flair and determination to do well in all she undertakes are already shining through. And she’s using her numerous skills to become quite the entrepreneur as well as supporting charities.
As well as producing wonderful works of art including paintings and a fabulous fancy dress suit (complete with full skeleton painted on the front and back) she has turned her hand to baking and is proving to be such a success, she’s taking commissions from staff and visitors to create special bakes just for them.
Alongside this, using her skills in hair and beauty, she’s also offering these services for staff too!
Leah most recently undertook a marathon baking session where over two days she worked for more than 16 hours to create a range of cakes including cookies, lemon drizzle cake, carrot cake, special cupcakes, chocolate cake and chocolate brownies. In total her efforts saw more than 100 individual cakes baked.
All of this effort was in aid of Macmillan’s Coffee Morning to raise funds for the charity. Neighbours of Heysham House were invited in to the event which also included a raffle. In total, £353 was raised in a little more than two hours.
The neighbours that attended the coffee morning were very complimentary of the effort Isolbel had put in and all very much enjoyed the cakes. They were all very impressed with how welcoming and polite Leah was.
Leah said: “I wanted to make money for the charity. I did all the baking and all the staff did was help me get the ingredients I said I needed and wash up as I baked! We only have one oven so it took a while to bake them all.
“I wrote lists for the staff so they could get what I needed and I did the rest.”
Since the success of event, Leah has been baking to order and has created a rocky road bake and a lemon drizzle. Staff have also noted that creating cakes has become something Leah enjoys when she is perhaps feeling down and can lift her mood and positivity. Leah is also a model student at Lancaster and Morecambe College where she is studying hairdressing as a vocational subject alongside English, Maths and other core subjects and has 100% attendance. She’s determined to do well in these GCSEs which she’ll sit next year. Outside of college she enjoys a busy social life; meeting friends, going to the gym and horse-riding are just some of the things making up Leah's packed schedule. She is also already taking on more charity work by organising collections for local food banks and shoe boxes at Christmas, perhaps for Haiti. Alongside this she’s also in training to undertake the Race for Life next year to raise funds for Cancer Research and is looking forward to starting volunteering at a local charity dog kennel in the next few weeks.
Leah said: “It’s good to be busy. I would advise other kids who might be going in to care to embrace it. I’d been out of school more than I’d been in school and now I’ve got good attendance. I’m really interested in science and I’m determined to get a C in Maths in May.
“I think you need to accept that you’re in care because it makes you depressed and sad if you fight against it. I appreciate my family more now too.
“People used to say to me I would never learn from my mistakes – well, I have learned from my mistakes. I’m learning about controlling myself and not doing things that put me at risk. I used to think I couldn’t change but I have; I’ve changed – absolutely.”