Ellen, aged 20, regularly volunteers at our community café in Druids Heath, which provides delicious sit-down meals created using surplus food. Ellen is currently studying for a degree in Biomedical Science and fits volunteering in around her lectures.
She explained that she initially started volunteering at the community café as part of an internship with Birmingham City Council.
‘I interviewed for the internship position as I’m interested in a future career in public health and wellbeing. The opportunity led me to volunteering as a front of house volunteer at the Druids Heath cafe to aid the food systems provisions team at the council. I ended up staying on as a volunteer after the project was over as I loved the community spirit and seeing the difference the café was making to people’s lives.’
We have lots of different volunteering opportunities at our community cafes. Some volunteers work in the kitchen, helping to prepare and cook the hot meals. While others, like Ellen, support the cafes in a front-facing role. She explained,
‘As a front of house volunteer at the café, I am responsible for serving customers and creating a welcoming environment. I really enjoy working with the other volunteers and staff – everyone is always smiling and looking out for each other.’
Ellen said that she has found volunteering really rewarding. She explained that it has helped her to feel more embedded within the community.
‘Being a student at a university it’s easy to be stuck in a bubble, so it can be more challenging to see what issues we are facing in the community we are living in. Volunteering has helped me become a part of the city!’
Volunteering has also deepened her understanding of public health and wellbeing – a sector she hopes to work within when she finishes her studies. As she told us, ‘Becoming a volunteer again in an area I hope to improve in the future has been so insightful and I love giving back to such a heartwarming community.’