I am over the moon to be the Volunteer Coordinator here at FareShare Sussex. I was appointed in February 2020 on a part time basis whilst I was in my final month as volunteer manager for YMCADLG Youth Advice Centre. I then went full time at Fareshare in March and then things went FULL ON!! COVID 19 took us by storm and we had to react very quickly and be very precise and remain calm.
I remember when things were really intense and worrying at the start of the pandemic I woke up in the middle of the night with the realisation that I was solely responsible for building the team of volunteers who would be helping deliver food to thousands of vulnerable people in Sussex and Surrey! What an EPIC responsibility and a real baptism of fire! I feel very proud of myself in retrospect and I am blessed to have such an incredible and supportive team of colleagues, we all have such a great can-do attitude and together we have faced the implications of COVID 19 head on.
My Story: I had an unusual upbringing and lived in a bus with my parents who had 5 children, we travelled around Europe busking as a family band and living in communes and with circuses and doing all the festivals way back when they were not commercial enterprises. I guess this has given me great people skills as I have learned a lot about working as a team and working with diverse groups of people. In 1990 my parents settled down in Wales and bought some land with a bunch of hippies and we grew food and I grew my 3 sons! I enjoy cooking for lots of people especially with home-grown produce. I moved to Brighton in 2003 and was amazed at how brilliant the community spirit is here.
I have joined several community groups over the years, either gardening or working with food and food waste and I have authored 4 gardening books about community, guerrilla gardening, sustainability and food. I have always run my own businesses and in 2014 I worked with Brighton & Hove Food Partnership on a project working with micro-producers launching a Zero Waste food shop called ‘Foodshed’ in Brighton Open Market, selling affordable, healthy, packaging free, local food and offered space for local micro producers to sell their wares and we sold loose scoop and weigh food and locally produced fruit and veggies! I am mega proud of what I achieved there and I worked with an amazing community of market traders and customers, pop your head in to the market and say hello, they are great.
My work with food and food waste lead me to volunteer for FareShare in 2017 before starting a new part time job with Digital Brighton & Hove after turning my shop Foodshed into a workers coop I felt it had come to a natural end for me so I moved on to new adventures in 2018. I currently live in a ‘two family’ household with my very good friend and our kids and I enjoy communal living, we have a massive garden which has been a pleasure to grow for the past 2 years.
I am passionate about food waste and food poverty issues and I am constantly amazed at what incredible things can happened when groups of people work together for a common cause.
FareShare best bits – working with an incredible team of volunteers and staff. The comradery and Leanne’s cake.
Favourite hobbies – Hanging out with my sons, singing in Brighton Goes Gospel Community Choir, tinkering on my ukulele, cycling, walking, guerrilla gardening and cooking for lots of people.
If you are interested in volunteering with us please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.