Skill, commitment and good fun – these are the key ingredients our volunteers bring to the Food Redistribution Centre.
This week we’re celebrating these generous people, to mark national Volunteers Week.
Our food programme – taking surplus goods from supermarkets and suppliers to redistribute to communities in need – simply wouldn’t run without the dozens of volunteers who give their time and skills each day.
Working in a range of admin, warehouse and driver roles, our team is diverse, from retired professionals to job seekers, foreign exchange students to ex-offenders, and many more in between. Their reasons for volunteering are unique to each individual, whether they’re sharing their skills or developing them further.
Christine, a retired teacher, relishes the opportunity to put her time and experience to good use: “I love knowing we make a difference to communities,” she says. “I loved my job teaching – making things happen and everyone pulling together – and here the work has equal importance.”
Mark made friends for life while volunteering and used it as a springboard to secure a job: “I’d been out of work for years so volunteering gave me hope,” he says. “You meet new people, learn new skills and it’s a real confidence boost.”
Rimma found volunteering to be a lifeline as she settled in a new community as a refugee: “I wanted to volunteer to improve my language skills,” she says. “It’s given me more confidence in how to deal with different people.”
Vivienne Ashurst, volunteer coordinator, said: “Our volunteers are all extraordinary people, working hard to ensure we deliver millions of meals to communities. They know they are vital cogs in the machine, taking real pride in their work.
“It’s our pleasure to be able to support each of our volunteers in return, whether that’s to find full-time employment, recover from a bereavement, settle in a new community, or to continue living busy, fulfilled lives after retirement. We work hard to ensure they receive as much as they give.”
Our Food Redistribution Centre delivered more than 2.3million meals to communities across Lancashire and Cumbria last year – more than doubling its operations while contending with reduced volunteer numbers to keep to social distancing guidelines.
Working across morning and afternoon shifts in warehouse or admin roles, volunteers work alongside a team of seven staff to help 200 groups to feed communities while reducing food waste. The Centre, based on Red Scar Industrial Estate in Preston, oversees the redistribution of hundreds of tonnes of goods each year.
Volunteers Week is a national celebration, running from June 1-7, to thank the millions of people who give their time and skills for free to help charities and community groups.
If you’d like to find out more about volunteering with us, please contact: [email protected]