With support from local churches and volunteers from the local community, Uckfield Foodbank was set up in September 2013.
All food is donated by individuals from the community. There are collection points in local supermarkets, shops, GP surgeries and churches. Over 20 agencies hold Foodbank vouchers. These agencies issue the vouchers to clients who are experiencing problems with their income and finding it difficult to feed their families. The agencies work with the clients to improve their situation so that they do not become dependent on the Foodbank.
The Foodbank has one paid, part-time employee, Project Manager Sharon Burt and all the other staff are volunteers. The volunteers come from all areas of the community and without them the Foodbank would not be able to help those who find themselves in need.
There are lots of ways to get involved with volunteering with Uckfield Foodbank including at the Foodbank centre itself where food is distributed to clients, or in other roles such as checking in food at the warehouse centre, driving, or helping with supermarket collections.
Sharon initially contacted the Volunteer Centre East Sussex (VCES) looking for assistance with recruiting more volunteers; ‘I was unable to attend the training session on recruiting volunteers but was able to attend a Volunteer Coordinators Networking Forum which focused on some of the issues. The Forum was incredibly helpful and I came away with lots of ideas. I later had a one to one session with Lee who approved what I had done so far and also gave me further ideas.’
As a result of this support Sharon was able to create a new recruitment poster
Which met with this response from Lee; ‘It’s great. It’s all there…strong and imaginative visuals, logos and contact details all in place and a very clear indication of what volunteers can expect to be doing and what they can gain from volunteering with the Foodbank.’
As part of reviewing the Foodbank’s recruitment campaign, Sharon has also re-written some of the role descriptions and penned a longer article to encourage more people to volunteer.
How easy was it to access support from VCES ‘Very easy. When I realised I could not attend the training session I felt no hesitation in emailing VCES to ask if there were any other opportunities for me to get the help I needed.’
More information about Uckfield Foodbank is available via their website; http://uckfield.foodbank.org.uk/
Lee Shepherd is VCES’ Volunteering Development Officer. You can contact Lee to discuss any issues relating to volunteer management for your group on 07535 992 638 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org