A TALENTED baker from Woodley is raising money to set up 'therapeutic baking' workshops as a means of helping people with mental health conditions and disabilities.

Karolina Burman said although the baking workshops would be aimed at individuals with learning disabilities, autism and Aspergers, others would be welcome.

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Ms Burman is currently crowdfunding to raise funds for much needed equipment.

Reading Chronicle:

Speaking about her inspiration for setting up the workshops, she said: "I am diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

"I have received CBT and Eye Movement Therapy treatment in the past in order to help me come to terms with what I have been through.

"However, PTSD is not something that can be cured.

"It is something that you need to learn to live with - it becomes part of you.

"Therefore, I had to learn some coping strategies that would help me manage my anxiety and prevent relapse.

"I have always enjoyed baking - it makes me feel good.

"I only realised the full power of baking when in the middle of anxiety attack I found myself going to the kitchen where I started measuring ingredients for my favourite Victoria sponge cake."

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Reading Chronicle:

Ms Burman is hoping to set up workshops in her local community of Woodley once the money is raised.

"The measuring and the mixing made me concentrate on something else and by the time the cake was in the oven I was no longer in my anxious state of mind," she added.

"And then the smell of cake baking in the oven has this magical power that gives me comfort.

"I have been supporting individuals with learning disabilities, Autism and Asperger's Syndrome as long as I can remember.

"Some individuals in my care past or present also have mental health conditions but due to the fact that they are not "neurotypical", some of the mainstream therapies cannot be used to support them."

Ms Burman hopes she can raise enough money to be able to partner with residential care homes, youth clubs, schools and other places - but said if she raised enough she would like to open a small cafe offering employment and work experience opportunities for individuals with learning disabilities, autism and Asperger's Syndrome.

"Mental health will affect all of us at some point either directly or indirectly," she added.

"I initially want to focus on supporting individuals with learning disabilities, Autism and asperger's syndrome, but my workshops would be accessible to anyone who is interested.

"Workshops will be adjusted and tailored to individuals attending."

Click here to donate to the crowdfunding page.