“Things were really hard. I’d been out of work for years and I was having a nightmare trying to find a job. I wasn’t getting anywhere and that knocks your confidence. Volunteering gave me hope.
“Because I was on Universal Credit the Job Centre recommended I go to the Food Redistribution Centre to volunteer. It was meant to be eight weeks but I liked it a lot so I wanted to stay.
“I did just over 18 months and learned lots of different things and got my Fork Lift Truck license – an extra qualification for my CV. Being able to go out to work during lockdown was really helpful too, knowing I was helping other people, especially because I’ve been on the other side of it myself.
“You meet new people, learn new skills and it’s a real confidence boost. I made some good friends too. You’re meeting people from different backgrounds too, but there’s no hierarchy to it – it’s a level playing field. That’s what was nice about it.
“Then the team recommended me for the job I’m in now and gave me a good reference. I’ve been in this job for a few weeks now and it’s brilliant. I’m a lot more confident and a lot happier.
“I’d have really struggled without the opportunity to volunteer.”