‘It’s great to see the community helping each other’: a Volunteer’s Story

At Healthy Living Platform we are all about building on the strengths in our community and we are indebted to our awesome team of volunteers, which has grown significantly during these challenging times. We would not be able to do all that we do without the wonderful support and hard work of our committed volunteers. Whilst there are too many to write about individually, we thought it would be nice to share the story of Angela, one of our regulars.

Near the start of lockdown Angela became involved in supporting our Friday Veg Bag scheme. It was particularly difficult at first, when we were working in the heat outside the community centre, which was closed to the public, and needing to follow new rigorous health and safety procedures. This did not phase Angela, who saw the funny side and she has played a key role in helping us to continuously adapt the scheme in response to the pandemic. She has generously given us her energy, enthusiasm and ideas throughout this time. 

This is what she had to say about volunteering with us. 

‘I have been volunteering with Healthy Living Platform, assisting with their Coronavirus response, since April 2020. A key task I assist with is handing out food parcels each Friday to local families. This is something I really enjoy as I can see the value it brings to the families collecting vegetables, fruit and other essentials. Approximately 20 families come to collect each week.

It is a chance to also ask them how they are getting on, and we’ve listened and shared stories each week. I have become a familiar face for the parents over the past couple of months, and it is clear they feel comfortable talking with people from Healthy Living Platform. It fills a special gap in the community, helping local families who need support, without the stigma of a foodbank.

We try to give the parents as much option as possible to choose what they would like to take, and they are grateful for the different items we’re able to offer. Sometimes there are extra packs such as gardening kits, art activities, new toothbrush and toothpaste for the children, and this always gets positive feedback from the parents.

It is clear that accessible support like Healthy Living Platform is required in the community. We have had on occasion people who have seen us handing out the food, come to ask for food, even though they aren’t on Heathy Living Platform’s membership database and have still tried to support them when we can and connect them with other services.

It is also lovely to see that many of the parents know each other and check in with each other each week. Sometimes if a parent can’t make the allotted time for one reason or another, another parent will collect and deliver on their behalf. Some of the parents also volunteer regularly themselves. One parent who is busy with their own large family of four children, takes the time to do a delivery for another family on their bicycle, before returning to get their own food parcel every week. It is great to see the community engaging and helping each other in this way.”

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Angela for everything she has done. Our volunteer roles are varied from person to person, according to the needs and experience of the individual. Keep an eye on our website for more stories, and please get in contact if you have one you wish to share!

If you would like to volunteer with us: sign up here!