UPDATE, 2022: Laura is now manager of the Food Redistribution Centre
Laura is our new CFM Coordinator – responsible for ensuring the needs and expectations of our members are met at the Food Redistribution Centre. She joins us on a permanent basis having already volunteered in the team for 12 months. She gladly took on responsibilities around Goods In, Food Selection and Allocations and also assisting with deliveries as a Driver’s Assistant all while completing her degree in Nutrition & Health. Here she reflects on all the lessons learned from volunteering:
“I’m passionate about the work FareShare undertake in helping to address the issue of food poverty and wanted to see and support the process of food redistribution through volunteering.
“I worked in the warehouse and out on deliveries, having the pleasure of meeting and chatting to our customers. Both environments are different in many ways but both require adaptability, strength and a good sense of humour.
“Helping in getting the food out to people who need it most makes it very worthwhile. When delivering to charities and community groups, you see first-hand the difference the food is making and this is a rewarding feeling. There is a great team spirit here and I looked forward to every day I volunteered. It brings me great happiness knowing I am supporting charities across both Lancashire and Cumbria, alongside a wonderful team.
“In October 2021, I undertook a 12-week student work placement here alongside studying for my degree in Nutrition and Health. The placement provided me with the opportunity to see the whole operational side of how a FareShare regional centre works and see the day-to-day process of surplus food redistribution. Although a work placement was a requirement of my final year at university, I wanted a setting that was different to a typical food industry or nutritional clinical placement, where I could develop my interpersonal and leadership skills.
“I was able to strengthen my confidence and customer relations skills while learning about food safety and manual handling, gaining new skills, experiencing different challenges, and taking on many responsibilities to support the food redistribution. For me, coming here wasn’t just about ticking a box for my studies – I look at it as being a step in personal growth, practical skill development, confidence building and an opportunity to find where your interests lie.
“It was a fantastic student placement opportunity and I acquired a real education and understanding into surplus food redistribution and the diversion of food waste.
“And now I’m taking on an exciting opportunity as the new CFM Coordinator. I’m delighted to have been offered the position. Having studied Nutrition, I’m looking forward to putting my knowledge and expertise to good use to come up with ideas and food recipes to make use of the unusual or bulk stock items we receive. It will be a pleasure and a challenge to make sure everyone’s expectations and requirements are met.”