It's been a busy, but fulfilling month at SWE this December!

It’s only mid-December, but we have had a busy and fulfilling month already! Our staff have taken part in charity bake sales, sustainable secret Santa gift making, Christmas Jumper Day, and have collected together many items to be donated to the Edinburgh Food Project.


Staff in Christmas Jumpers
Baking goods, raising money for SAMH.

Bake off!

A charity close to SWEples heart is SAMH (Scottish Action for Mental Health). On 1st December it was time for our staff to show off their baking skills with our very own SAMH charity bake-off. Whether a baking pro, a total novice or a lover of baked goods, all were encouraged to get involved. We had a panel of judges, with their favourite being a delightful vegan biscoff bake, made by Jethro in our events team. Our “SWEples Choice” award was given to our tour guide, Chris who made delicious blondies. Only a few votes separated all the bakes, so well done and thank you to those that took part, both by baking, eating and donating to SAMH!

Baking items for SAMH
Christmas wreath with holly

Sustainable secret Santa!

Next up in our diary, was our Christmas party where Rebecca, one of our Visitor Experience Managers brought the lovely idea from a previous workplacefor handmade or second-hand gifts Here’s what Rebecca said about this years’ secret Santa.

“In our world today, it is so important to be conscious of the excessive consumerism culture we live in. Often, secret Santa becomes a £10.00 bath & shower gel gift set that you picked up at the train station on the way to the party and not only do the items generally go unappreciated, the packaging and plastic containers end up in landfill.

Making the secret Santa experience second-hand or homemade ensures that everyone has put some thought and effort into the gifting experience and honestly, some of my favourite gifts I’ve ever received have been from this approach in previous jobs.

I was delighted when the team at SWE embraced this idea, and it was wonderful to see what creations the team made/baked/painted and thrifted! From delicious brownies, boozy Christmas puds and cupcakes to handmade decorations, candles and knitted scarves, our team truly gave it their all and made some extraordinary gifts! A very Merry Christmas all round!”

Staff in Christmas Jumpers

Christmas Jumper Day

Christmas Jumper Day followed, with staff all wearing their best festive jumper to work for the day. Donations were made to Save the Children, who support children in the UK and around the world to keep safe and healthy. Our staff, (and visitors!) all enjoyed the festive cheer it brought to SWE.

Food bank donation items

The Edinburgh Food Project

Every year, SWE donates to a local food bank. This year, we chose the Edinburgh Food Project who operate out of a number of venues in the city, including one just across the road from us at St. Columba’s by the Castle. Their mission is “to provide emergency food supplies and support to people in crisis, while working with people, communities, and our partner agencies to address the underlying causes of food poverty.”

Over a few weeks staff donated a range of food items and household essentials, from cereals, pasta, rice and tinned vegetables to toothpaste, nappies and toilet rolls.

A large carload of goods was delivered to their warehouse to the west of the city.  Their wonderful team of volunteers and employees work tirelessly, not just in time for Christmas, but throughout the year to make sure that no one goes hungry.

A massive thanks to all our staff who donated, especially our Executive Chef, David, who asked his family members not to give him birthday presents, but to donate to this wonderful cause instead.