Volunteering: What our volunteers gain from giving back

They say the most valuable thing you can give is your time – which is certainly true for our volunteer team.

Our Food Redistribution Centre is reliant on dozens of volunteers to help get millions of meals out to communities across Lancashire and Cumbria, feeding people most in need while reducing food waste.

Here we look at the many personal and professional benefits volunteering brings to the men and women who give their time with us…

Personal benefits – Volunteering has given Bill a renewed sense of purpose during retirement, while 22-year-old Zack hopes it will help him to find his way in the world of work. Rimma, who has a wealth of work experience, used volunteering to improve her language skills after arriving in the UK as a refugee.

Training opportunities – Our volunteers also have opportunity to complete training courses in a range of areas. Volunteers interested in food preparation can complete our Training Kitchen cookery classes – completing an eight-week course, developed by Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food, covering nutrition, budgeting, and food safety and hygiene. Volunteers keen to move into paid work can complete training with our in-house training manager, including securing certifications and plant licenses.


“It gave me so much confidence, and it was something good for others too” – Rosie

“Volunteering really helped me,” says Rosie. “It was just so lovely to be greeted nicely every morning and thanked as I left.”

She joined the team in the hope of getting into a good routine and regaining her confidence after spending time in rehab. “My background is in catering, I’d been a chef for 10 years, so I loved the ethos of FareShare and it was so nice to meet the people taking the food.”

While volunteering she also completed a college course and was later given a reference by our team, helping her to secure a full-time role working in management accounts. “I’m so grateful for the opportunity to volunteer. It gave me so much confidence back but at the same time, it was something good for others too.”


“It’s nice to feel useful – it makes you feel good” – Bill

“Knowing I’m helping people is what keeps me coming in,” says Bill. He started volunteering six months after retiring, having worked in management for housing associations. “It’s nice to get out the house and feel useful. The social side of it is good so you get as much out of it as you put in.”

Bill works in an admin role, overseeing the allocation of goods to member groups, ensuring their wants, needs and dietary requirements are met.

In 2022 he returned to the role after a ‘year out’ volunteering with the NHS through the pandemic, helping at Royal Blackburn Hospital: “I was always planning to come back here though. I like the variety in the days and the diverse team. I’m glad I can continue to help others in some way. Volunteering makes you feel good.”


“It’s really given me confidence and I’ve learned new skills” – Zack

22-year-old Zack is completing the Kickstart programme at the Centre, hoping to improve his skills and confidence ready to find work again.

He was made redundant from his job in retail after having to shield during lockdown to prioritise his parents’ health.

“I was worried I’d never get back into work,” he said. “I was applying for any job I could when the Job Centre told me about Kickstart.”

Zack completed the six-month programme, working 25 hours a week and earning the national minimum wage, while being supported to build his CV and look for full-time roles.

“It’s been a big help coming here,” he added. “It’s really helped me to cope with anxiety and given me confidence. It’s given me routine too and I’ve learned new skills. I like hands-on work so I’m looking for jobs in warehousing or retail now.

“Working here feels good because I know I’m helping the community too.”


“We’re working hard to help communities” – Rimma

Helping others was the most important thing for Rimma, knowing the Food Redistribution Centre’s work helps thousands of people every week.

“When the country was in lockdown we were here working hard to help communities – it was very important to me to be able to help like that,” she said.

“I came to the UK as an asylum seeker. I’ve worked all my life, since I was 20, so I bring experience to volunteering but I wanted to volunteer to improve my language skills – it was very important for me getting a job.. I’d been studying English but that doesn’t give you the same chance to communicate with people. I volunteer here and also with the British Red Cross, as an interpreter in Arabic and Russian.

“We volunteers, we’re here doing a great job and each of us playing our part.”


To volunteer with our Food Redistribution Centre team, contact: [email protected] or 01772 665958

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