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A Midlands based FOOD Club volunteer gives a flavour of their volunteering activities at FOOD Club, and explains what they most enjoy about the ole.

“My family had been using the FOOD Club for a while – we loved the variety of food you get at FOOD Club, and enjoyed trying new foods and recipes. My mum saw how welcoming the team at the club was and suggested that I might like to volunteer there as she thought I’d be safe and well looked after in the setting, and I’d be busy doing a good thing in the community. So I started doing a shift once a week at the weekend when I wasn’t at school.

I really love coming along to FOOD Club and know that my work here is valued. I tend to be on the reception desk – I give every member a warm welcome. I get people to sign in, and if they’re here for the first time I’ll ask them to fill in a membership form, and explain how FOOD Club works. I’ll also have a chat with members and their children, ask them about their week, tell them what food is available this week, and so on.

I check people’s food allergies too – and if they are vegetarian, vegan, prefer halal etc – and make sure that they get appropriate items. People are often surprised at what good value for money the club is – and the variety of food items they get each week. People will sometimes tell me what they plan to cook with their food – today for instance one member took away a huge marrow and was talking about stuffing it with some chicken mince and rice.

I have enjoyed my volunteer work so much that after my exams during the summer holidays I started to extend my role and have been helping with deliveries at another club. It’s hard for people my age to get varied work experience and a reference – most of my friends have struggled, but this volunteering role gives me both these things.

I have recently started an apprenticeship where I need to speak to all kinds of people – I think that my volunteer work has helped me to be more confident speaking to people of different ages and backgrounds. I think it has also given me a bit of a break from my studies this year, and the chance to get out the house, do something completely different, and help the local community.”