Welcome to FC United’s FoodHub, here you will find people from all walks of life, united in their desire to help feed the community of Moston and beyond. A few months ago, we met Rachel who volunteers at the FoodHub, and heard her amazing story of transformation since helping the team. The FoodHub is full of people just like Rachel, who all have a heart to volunteer their time to help those in need. Today, we’re going to hear some of their stories and understand what a diverse place FC United’s FoodHub is.
First, meet Claire. Claire helped out with the Christmas Comforts campaign in 2019, when we provided a hot breakfast, clean clothes, company and more on Christmas Day for homeless men and women across our city. Claire describes this initial experience of FC United’s community work as: “one of the most enjoyable and rewarding things I’ve ever been involved in. It sparked my interest to do more”.
Unfortunately, Claire lost her job at the start of the pandemic in March 2020:
“I felt very lost, worthless and useless. I found out about the hub at FC and knew instantly that I wanted to volunteer and help families struggling in one way or another due to the impact of Covid”.
Claire contacted Vinny Thompson at the FoodHub and offered her free time. She recalls the time when she first started volunteering at the Hub:
“From the minute I got in touch with Vinny I felt a warm welcome yet again. For the first time in a long time, I felt useful. I’m not ashamed to say that I was struggling with depression and anxiety during the start of the year, but getting up and having a purpose, helping others and being surrounded by kind people had a massive positive impact on my health”.
Claire’s duties at the Hub included helping to prepare and pack food parcels and delivering these to families across North Manchester:
“I loved it! Not only was I seeing first-hand the shocking social impacts of Covid, I was also making friends and learning about charities. To be around a group of people all sharing the same values and all volunteering to give up their time to help others was very special.”
The longer she volunteered, the more skills she was learning and the better she felt about the future:
“I really built my confidence up during my time at the hub and eventually started applying for jobs again. Throughout my time volunteering, I discovered how rewarding this kind of work is. Although this was completely different sector from what I used to work in, I began applying for these roles and as a result of this and some great guidance and advice from Vinny, I managed to secure a fantastic job working with asylum seekers!!”
Claire has a message for anyone thinking of joining the FoodHub team:
“I’d urge everyone to volunteer if at all possible, if you can help others in any way you should, and you will be surprised how much you get back too. The Hub, all of the volunteers and they work they do is incredibly special. I’m honoured I was a part of it and will continue to offer my time around my new job”
Next, meet newly elected board member David Edwards. David has been volunteering at the Hub since its inception along with his wife Sara and son Adam who have all been key members of the team:
“My first memory of the FoodHub is setting up some trestle tables with Viv Ware and Adam, my son, in March. Adam had lost his job in Spain when the country went into an early lockdown. Having worked with FareShare on projects previously, Vinny approached them regarding working with them on a weekly basis initially to combat this pandemic, to which instantly they agreed. In those first few weeks, we felt our way forward with volunteers packing bags, then delivering them on Tuesdays and Fridays”
As the FoodHub began to grow, David remembers the challenges they faced in expanding the project:
“Vinny kept the food coming in, so it was a case of how we stored it, how much to send out, and who we were looking after. Working out some sort of criteria for the scheme and making objective or emotive judgements has been one of the greatest challenges”
However, despite these hurdles, David has experienced the FoodHub go from strength to strength:
“Over the months we’ve smartened up our act, recruited more volunteers into teams, built a food warehouse and a walk-in freezer. The banter is good, the work honest and fulfilling and the reaction in the local community has been wonderful”
The reaction from the local community is for David summed up in a recent story:
“Recently a guy knocked on the door and asked for the person in charge. Vinny stepped forward nervously… but there was no telling off – he wanted to donate £60 anonymously! By the way… if you’re looking for a way to wind Vinny up then call his beloved self-proclaimed warehouse a mini-mart”
Meet Chris Procter. You might know Chris from matchdays. Chris has been able to give his time and access to a vehicle to help out at the FoodHub:
“I am a long-term FC United supporter, who retired as a lecturer at Salford University in 2019. When I heard about the FoodHub during lockdown, I phoned Vinny explaining that my car and I were sitting idle!”
Chris shares how he has been able to spend time with his partner Kim whilst volunteering at the Hub:
“Since contacting Vinny, I have been helping to deliver food from the Hub since May with my partner Kim, who is a part time yoga teacher. She is based at the Iyengar Yoga Centre but not doing much yoga teaching at the moment!”
Not only has Chris been able to help others during this time, he also feels like he has gained from volunteering his time:
“It has been satisfying to meet and help people in different circumstances, and a pleasure to work with such a well organised, positive and selfless team of volunteers at FC”
Finally, meet Colin Harris. Colin is not only a volunteer at the FoodHub, but a receiver of parcels too. He lives in the local community and got connected with the FoodHub during the pandemic:
“As luck would have it, I had plenty to do in my garden when we got locked down in March 2020! I helped friends in my street to do their gardens too. I felt like the initial lockdown helped me to get to know people better. I had time to think about what I wanted to do next, because food was delivered to my home. I felt it was only right for me to give something back to the community by joining the team at the FoodHub”
Join the team
We are incredibly proud of the work that our FoodHub does, whilst simultaneously saddened by the increasing need for our services. Each one of our volunteers has a unique story of how their work has not only helped our service users but has touched their own lives too. If you would like to join our wonderful team of volunteers, please contact Community Officer Vinny Thompson on: firstname.lastname@example.org