Tag Archives: Charity


CHS logoThe British Chamber is hosting the 3rd edition of the Great Brussels Charity Bake Off this March. This year, we’ll be raising money for Community Help Service. Take a look at what services they can offer to you, from their Chairman, Geoff Brown

Community Help Service (CHS) is a non-profit organisation that provides information, support and mental health services to anyone in Belgium who needs help and prefers to speak English, regardless of nationality and circumstances. It was set up in 1971 to provide help to people from the expatriate community, mainly those with English as their mother tongue. Brussels has changed considerably since then and many of those now supported by CHS are not native English speakers.

The services offered by CHS are:

Helpline: This is an anonymous, confidential, 24/7 telephone service in English, for children, adolescents and adults. It is oper

ated by volunteers (who are trained, supported and supervised by professionals) who can provide general information, support and help in a crisis. During 2015, the Helpline received more than 3,400 calls.

CHS Phalenes

Mental Health Centre:

A professional team of clinical psychologists, psychotherapists and psychiatrists offers confidential support and professional services. In addition to English, individual members of the Clinical Team work in Catalan, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Romanian and Spanish. The team deals with a wide range of problems, such as:

– Children’s learning and behavioural difficulties
– Parenting issues
– Drug and alcohol addiction
– Depression and anxiety
– Acute distress and behavioural change
– Couple and family difficulties
– Bereavement
– Sexual problems
– Burnout

The team also offers psycho-educational evaluations for children, highly valued by the international schools in Brussels and Luxembourg. Starting in 2016, these evaluations are available in French and German as well as in English.

Different parameters may be considered in determining the cost of counselling. No-one is turned away for lack of funds.

More than 700 new clients contacted the Mental Health Centre in 2015, representing almost 40 nationalities.

Since 2013, CHS has been working with Castle Craig Hospital, a Scotland-based addiction treatment centre.


The CHS office, operated by volunteers, is open from 10.00 to 16.00 on Monday to Friday (10.00 to 13.00 during July and August). Therapists work outside these hours, offering appointments during evenings and on Saturdays.

Unlike the 3 Belgian national language helplines which are subsidised by their respective regional authorities, CHS receives no subsidy for its services to the English speaking community. While contributions from the Clinical Team significantly finance the Mental Health Centre running costs, CHS therefore relies on income from community associations, sponsorship and donations, the annual calendar and fund-raising events to finance its Helpline and to break even.

If you would like further information e.g. with regard to becoming a volunteer or providing financial or other support, please contact CHS at the address, e-mail or telephone number mentioned below. Alternatively, the upcoming 2016 Great Brussels Charity Bake-off on 22 February and 21 March will be raising money for CHS.

CHS Mental Health Centre                                                            CHS Helpline
Avenue des Phalènes 26                                                               Telephone: 02.648.40.14
1000 Brussels
Telephone: 02.647.67.80

If you want to compete in this year’s bake-off, there’s still time! Click here to register


by Antony So, EU Policy Executive & BNG

The British Chamber bustled with eager bakers last week, as we launched the second edition of our Great Brussels Charity Bake Off. Some were seasoned bakers and others were new faces, all ready to put their skills to the test.

Representatives of over thirty of the participating teams came to the British Chamber to scope their competitors, and discover what sort of baked goods they are expected to produce. As everyone recalls, last year’s most exciting entries to the Bake Off included a thyme-lime timeline (see what the crafty bakers did there?) of the co-decision process, and a cake replica of Brussels’ Grand Place. Inspired by this creativity, we decided that alongside cakes and pies, the other two baking categories would be European Goodies and Belgian-inspired treats.

Like last year, the Great Brussels Charity Bake Off is raising funds for YouthStart, a local charity under the patronage of Queen Mathilde of Belgium which runs training programmes and promotes entrepreneurship amongst young unemployed people in the Brussels region. As Amélie Coulet, the chair of the British Chamber’s Brussels New Generation pointed out, the Bake Off is a chance for young international professionals to show we are part of the Brussels community and to give something back to our adopted hometown.

With only 24 days to go until the Bake Off judging event itself, the teams will be discussing their concepts and cooking up a storm in preparation for the show down.

The final results will be revealed –and tasted!- on October 27 at Le Châtelain Hotel in Brussels, where we will be joined by award-winning chefs who will judge the bakes on their taste, originality and design. Our esteemed judges joining us for the Bake Off this year are:

  • Michael Lewis Anderson of Wittamer
  • Thomas Locus of Restaurant Margaux
  • Felix Alen of Restaurant Hof te Rhode
  • Serge Alexandre, the Ambassador of Belgian Chocolate
  • Nicolas Gadomski of Hotel Chatelain
  • Marc Ducobu of Patisserie Ducobu

The competition will be fierce but friendly and is open to guests to attend. For those with a sweet tooth or weakness for freshly baked goods, please feel free to register and become a taster for 5€. For such a great cause and for such delicious food, how can you resist? To become a taster, register here.

The Chamber team wishes all the baking teams the best of luck and we look forward to seeing you all on October 27 at Châtelain Hotel.

Follow the progress of our teams by following the hashtag: #BXLBakeOff!

GOSThe Bake Off registration for teams has now closed. Looking at the teams, it’s going to be an amazing year for cake, I promise you. However, it doesn’t mean you can’t still get involved, we would therefore like to welcome you to the #BXLBAKEOFF launch this evening at 18h00 (for more information, contact Bryony on The charity for which we are raising money is one that is close to our organisation’s core values. We asked the director, Lena Bondue, to write a few words on her charity organisation and where the money will go.

“Thanks for your support for our NGO, YouthStart.  We rolled out our first programme in 1999 and since then more than 4500 underprivileged youth and young adults have followed our course in entrepreneurial attitudes and entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship education is a tool that can equip young people to not only start businesses and create jobs, but also to be opportunity-focused, flexible employees ready to fill existing jobs.

The YouthStart course is a unique combination of hands-on training and motivational coaching. Participants discover their talents, increase their self-confidence, improve their attitudes and accumulate a large dose of corporate knowledge by developing a business plan for a project of their liking. The “icing on the cake” is the presentation of the student’s own business plan. This can be of a fictitious company or a company they truly hope to start. The plans are presented to the public and a special jury. The jury is made up of people representing the collaboration between YouthStart and the corporate world.

YouthStart fosters the creation of businesses and the development of a adaptable, driven and opportunity-focused workforce that ultimately promotes economic stability.  External research has shown that Youthstart graduates start and maintain businesses at substantially higher rates than their peers. 11% become business starters, but as important are the 59 % of young people who find a job and 12 % who stay or return to school and invest in education.

The British Chamber of Commerce in Belgium is organising a baking competition on October 27 that aims to raise awareness and funds to tackle the issue of youth unemployment and skills in Belgium. Teams will compete to bake the most creative, visually attractive and tasty treats, which will be judged by a panel of top chefs in Belgium. The British Chamber is collaborating with YouthStart for the second year running, following the inaugural competition that took place in 2013, which raised 5000 euros. Your support and the financial contribution of your company allows us to reach an even more substantial group of young people with our courses and programs offered for free to our participants.

If you would like to become involved in YouthStart in an even more substantial way for ex. By becoming a Certified Trainer, Mentor and by hosting a business plan competition within your company premises, please contact us at .”


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