In my role at Caring in Bristol, I cooked and prepared meals to be sent out to homeless people around Bristol. We would generally spend the day preparing about 200/300 meals, made out of food that had been donated – it was great because it meant that we were also utilising food that would have otherwise been wasted. It was nice to know these meals were going out to people who really needed them, and the environment was being helped too!
I also volunteered in the evening to be a delivery driver. We would drive to various hostels and hotels, and temporary accommodation – where people had been rehomed due to the pandemic, around Bristol. Part of my duties was to sort through donations, including food and clothing and maintain hygiene standards by keeping the warehouse clean.
Caring in Bristol was absolutely great to volunteer for. There were trained chefs inhouse, but the volunteers were needed due to the quantity being made. it was a challenge but I thoroughly enjoyed it and learnt some new cookery skills from the chefs that were running the kitchen. The aid of volunteers also meant that other people in the company could spend their time helping the service users, by ensuring they were able to access other support such as financial advice. This was crucial during the worst of the pandemic, as so many people were loosing their rental homes and Caring in Bristol offered amazing support and advice on what people were entitled to. Whenever I engaged with the service users, everyone seemed so grateful.
I had just moved to Bristol so it was nice to be part of something in my new community. I didn’t know many people and I felt completely isolated during this time. This was made harder with universities being online and the general lock downs that we kept moving in and out of. Even being part of the volunteer group and meeting people that way meant so much to me. Helping out at Caring in Bristol meant I met a few people that I am still good friends with now! Also, going out in the vans really helped me to get to know Bristol and find my way around a lot better
Caring in Bristol is a really excellent charity, and a really brilliant one to volunteer with too. Everyone was friendly and welcoming, and it was nice to be surrounded with people who wanted to see the same change as me and I learnt about many more organisations that do amazing things around the city.
I went on to volunteer with Fare Share – the team there are all welcoming and appreciative. I am passionate about food being accessible for all and this gave me a really good insight into how we can make this happen and has given me some ideas for my career. It’s so good to see different organisations and see how they are helping socially, but it’s also nice to be a part of something that on an environmental level, helps with food waste, too!
I was also working as a support worker and noted that much of the diet for service users was sugar and pre-made food that isn’t really that healthy – I’d love to combine the skills I have learnt from Caring in Bristol, my support work and Fare Share – where I am currently volunteering, to set something up once I have finished my degree in Psychology. I now want to develop my understanding of the links between nutrition and mental health as I feel that this issue is often ignored as well as the social problems surrounding this.