Chefs and student chefs prepare meals in a kitchen
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Good food serves a good cause

Jessie May is a Bristol-based charity providing nursing care at home for children and young people with life limiting conditions who are not expected to live beyond the age of 19. Jessie May was established in September 1994 by Chris and Philippa Purrington, following the death of their baby daughter Jessica May, only 4.5 months old.

The catering team at City of Bristol College has teamed up with Jessie May and Helping Hands and Pans to bring together a group of experienced chefs and restaurant workers to deliver this charity event. Over 60 people dined at the college’s City Restaurant on Anchor Road, an event which fundraised £4,000 for the charity. This amount of money will help pay for an additional 40 hours of vital respite support for a family or support at the end of a child’s life with a Jessie nurse who knows the family’s needs and wishes.  

Chris Roys, Chief Executive of Jessie May commented: “Jessie May is very grateful to everyone who made this event such a success. Every guest was treated to an incredible culinary experience over four impressive courses. It was a privilege to welcome the Helping Hands and Pans to Bristol for one night only. City Restaurant at City of Bristol College offered the most perfect location for this event and the evening could not have been a success if it wasn’t for all the students’ hard work and the professional chef’s skills, knowledge and experience. A truly collaborative event.”

Ian Fitzgerald of Helping Hands and Pans, and Managing Director of The Rick Stein Group brought in colleagues from Padstow and ‘Rick Stein, Marlborough’ to the event. He commented: “Through Helping Hands and Pans we have had the opportunity to help a whole bunch of worthy charities. When Jessie May asked us to support this event we were delighted to get involved. Working with the students and staff of Bristol City College was an added incentive – and they did themselves and the college proud! The enthusiasm and hard work of the students was appreciated by all in what was a splendid evening of great food and service.”

Alexandra Sermon, Assistant Principal – Further and Higher Education at City of Bristol College, added: “At City of Bristol College we pride ourselves on equipping our students with skills which will prepare them for working life. Through this event, they’ve not only been able to continue developing their culinary skills but also worked under supervision of a team of professional chefs, experiencing the pressures of a real commercial kitchen. Similarly, their front of house skills were in demand as they successfully managed the four course dinner and over 60 guests. Supporting the charity event with Jessie May has also helped us to make a positive contribution in developing our students’ character and becoming active citizens of our society. They’ve really enjoyed all aspects of this special experience.”  

“The difference the evening has made to our families is priceless. Jessie May is a charity that provides hospice at home care for terminally ill children within their own homes throughout Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset, Swindon, Wiltshire, Bath and North East Somerset. As a charity we are almost entirely dependent on public support.” concluded Mr Roys.

City of Bristol College offers a wide range of courses in catering and hospitality, including classroom-based and apprenticeship pathways. To join the college in September, apply via

City of Bristol College is part of the Department for Education pilot for the 315 hours industry placement which will be a mandatory part of the 2 year T Level study programme from September 2020. It is working with a range of employers in order to build capacity to offer students placements that fit in around the needs of both employer and the study programme. Placements can take the form of scheduled 1-2 days a week, blocks or a mixture of both. If you’re an employer interested in exploring how this opportunity can help you develop a pipeline of talent for your business, please contact   

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