This very special Volunteers’ Week we caught up with Volunteer Coordinator Josie who has been reflecting on the year.
Working together through the pandemic has been incredible, we have achieved so much, and as a community we have kept each other strong, sane, motivated and given each other some sense of family, normality and routine at a time where there was none of those things.
I feel like we have really hit this pandemic head on and we have made Fareshare Sussex a better place for it. Operations are running even more smoothly now, despite all the challenges we have faced, during the pandemic there were fewer volunteers, triple the amount of food coming in and many more projects needing it.
Changes such as the introduction of lead volunteers on shift, offering more volunteers their forklift truck licence and training warehouse assistants as drivers have all led to a stronger team.
Our drivers have embraced doing a different route each week and know all the routes of the day like the back of their hand now. We feel blessed to have you representing FareShare when you are out on deliveries and we get wonderful feedback from our projects.
We have also seen many volunteers leave us to move to paid employment, which is fantastic and ultimately what we aim for!
Josie shares that “many of our volunteers… have told me that volunteering at Fareshare has played a huge part in their employment success”, which makes us feel very proud.
As we had to put plans for a celebration and appreciation event on hold due to Covid, Josie instead ensured every single volunteer received an appreciation voucher for a different activity of their choice. We decided to organise a few small group activities that would still bring people together and give volunteers an opportunity to meet one another.
We have offered activities like bike maintenance workshops, portrait painting, afternoon tea, macrame and flag making workshops.
Volunteer Ali, who took part in the macrame workshop run by Between the Folds, said:
What a boost to learn a skill and make something useful and beautiful.. Jo was a great teacher, I’d like to make some more plant hangers in the future!
I love volunteering at FareShare, the chance to connect with others, build my skills and confidence with cooking, and be part of a team that combats food waste. I enjoy feeding people who have had a physically tiring shift too and meeting that need.Ali, volunteer chef
Josie also arranged a local artist Hannah Shillito to make volunteer portraits which are proudly displayed in our kitchen.
This wonderful portrait is Roma. She tells us:
This has been the most phenomenal year, and still ongoing, and the sense of teamwork and support at FareShare has been amazing. I have been so grateful to have the routine, sense of purpose and reason to be able to leave my house regularly.Roma, Driver’s Assistant
Thank you so much to every one of our volunteers, you are all incredible!