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Working for Family Action makes a positive difference to families across the country every day. Here, one of our FOOD Club staff explains how she came to work for Family Action and what she enjoys about her role.

I currently work at the Bristol FOOD Clubs as a Coordinator. I started as a volunteer, then moved up to work as a Support Worker before taking on my Coordinator role. I’m now in charge of around 10 FOOD Clubs around the Bristol and BANES area and I’m loving it.

I saw the FOOD Club first-hand when my children were little and attended the nursery that was linked to it at the time. I was encouraged by the nursery staff to become involved with the FOOD Club as a volunteer. I thought that it would be good for my self-esteem and a way to get some experience to help me get back into the workplace – It always looks good for your CV to have some work experience under your belt!

I then applied to be a paid Support Worker. I really enjoyed the role as I was able to attend a couple of different venues and I was helping the FOOD Club to build up its membership. As an added bonus I loved seeing more of the area.

I worked in lots of different roles before having children. I have been a delivery driver as well as working within the retail and hospitality sectors, to name a few. However, working at FOOD Club is the job that I have enjoyed the most and found the most rewarding… and I get to meet lots of people I wouldn’t normally meet.

… working at FOOD Club is the job that I have enjoyed the most and found the most rewarding.

My favourite part of the job is knowing so many families are benefitting from the food. Some people are embarrassed to come here at first but they soon realise that not only are they reducing their shopping bill, they are also stopping food from ending up in a landfill. The club has other advantages for families too, such as helping them to cook, giving them new ideas, and allowing them to try new ingredients. I get lots of positive feedback from them all the time; especially around value for money and the money they save.

When we can we like to make things with the produce, for example, soups and pasta dishes. I also like to put foods together as a ‘meal pack’. Today it happens we have mozzarella, pasta, passata, peppers and chilli so we have put them together as a meal idea to help promote them. We had papayas and figs once, so we just chopped some up for people to try.

As a volunteer and staff member I have carried out a wide variety of tasks, such as receiving and checking food deliveries, helping to put together and give out food baskets, working on the till, looking at how to increase membership, welcoming visitors, liaising with partners, processing volunteer applications and so on. Every day and is different!

I like giving people ideas for what to do with foods, especially some of the more unusual ones, although our most popular foods are potatoes, chicken, oranges and apples. I also love seeing all the weird and wonderful items that we get to put in our FOOD boxes. Yesterday we had celeriac and apples so I got to make a celeriac and apple coleslaw for our users to sample. Last week I also made celeriac chips for people to sample – they were yummy!! I love making meals and coming up with meal ideas for people.

We make sure that all the food we have here at FOOD Club is used and nothing goes to waste and if we have any spare at the end of the week, we have one very popular club on a Friday that we can transfer our food to. If ever we do (on rare occasions) have any spare perishable food it never gets binned… we make sure it goes to homeless shelters or community fridges.

We always need volunteers to help us in FOOD Clubs. It’s a great job as you get to support other people, and talk to them about all the different food on offer. You also have the benefit of being able to study for your food hygiene course. Finally, volunteering with FOOD Clubs will let you gain some work experience, which may ultimately help with employment.

Lots of our members become volunteers as I did, and it’s nice to be able to give something back.