Frothin’ for a good community project

January 22, 2022 BY

Ferguson Plarre Waurn Ponds employees Elise Collard, Tilly Hillman and Kirsten Bermejo holding the donations box for the Baby Cinos initiative. INSET: The donations box at Ferguson Plarre Waurn Ponds, which is is located on the southwestern side of the shopping precinct. Photos: VINNIE VAN OORSCHOT

HUNDREDS of dollars have gone into community organisations thanks to a Babyccino initiative started by a Waurn Ponds bakehouse.

Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses have been operating within Victoria since 1901 and have always prided themselves on giving back.

However, the Ferguson Plarre branch in Waurn Ponds can take full credit for its inclusive and community-minded idea, the Baby Cinos gold coin fundraising program.

Wife and husband co-owners, Anita and Daniel Spokes, opened the Waurn Ponds Ferguson Plarre over 10 years ago where along the way, Ms Spokes began to feel silly charging customers for frothed milk more commonly known as ‘Babyccinos’.

“I just thought why don’t we create a good initiative to give back to the community as opposed to charging people 50 cents or a dollar for the excess milk,” Ms Spokes said.

“Instead, now, we just ask people to donate a gold coin to the fundraising jar that we keep next to the register, which is where the idea for the fundraiser began.”

Ms Spokes and her husband also own another store in Melbourne where this fundraiser has really taken off according to the business owner.

Funds donated, which are accumulated over three months, are sent off to a variety of community groups whether it is a toy library, a sporting club, or a local school for a singular project.

“When we engage with community groups, we don’t just want them to take the money and set it aside,” Ms Spokes said.

“We actually ask people what they would like to do with the funds whether it be painting the lines of a basketball court or buying some equipment, just so there is a purpose for the money.”

In the past, groups and clubs such as the Grovedale Toy Library, Geelong Amateurs Football Netball Club and numerous local primary schools have completed the odd job thanks to the donations of the fundraiser.

“It fills me with pride to know that I started this initiative, but it’s fantastic that Ferguson Plarre, the company, have taken it upon themselves to encourage other franchisees to do the Baby Cinos for charity program,” Ms Spokes said.

“This store in Waurn Ponds is all about community. People come here every day, so we pride ourselves on ‘being the door next door you know’, the girls working always know your name, always have a smile, and continue to give back to the community.”

There are six Ferguson Plarre bakehouses in the Geelong area. Waurn Ponds, Newcomb, Westfield Geelong, Geelong West, Anakie and Corio.

Plarre Ferguson Bakehouse is on the lookout for their next fundraising objective, and if this sounds right for your community group, get in touch with the store today.