Meet our Volunteer Customer Service Assistant – Peter’s story

Peter Richard Houghton - FareShare West Midlands

17 September 2018

Chatting on the phone to book in daily orders of food for the charities we support is one of the many things Peter Richard Houghton helps out with as a Volunteer Customer Service Assistant at FareShare West Midlands in Birmingham.

We asked Peter about his experience volunteering for FareShare, and how it inspired him to look for work opportunities in a new area.

How did you get involved with FareShare?

"I had been made redundant from my job, and so was keen to keep busy and enhance skills while I look for work.

I searched on Google for volunteering opportunities in the West Midlands and FareShare was the first charity to come up. Having explored the website to find out more about its work fighting hunger and food waste, I knew it was a worthy cause and that I wanted to get involved.

The fact you’re also offered CV advice and a reference from FareShare West Midlands is a great bonus and means I can share it with any prospective employers."

What areas of FareShare’s work have you been exposed to?

"One of the best things about FareShare is the vast experience you get and the variety of tasks you find yourself undertaking. For example, I’ve done quite a bit of office work, which sees me taking calls and dealing with both charities and the Food team to take orders and make sure we’re sharing the best stock with charity members that is suitable to their requirements.

The flexible and welcoming atmosphere here does also mean that I’ve been able to help out with driving, warehouse coordination, and meeting beneficiaries on deliveries.

Dealing with charities and community groups is really nice, they are so grateful for FareShare’s support and it’s great building relationships with them."

What makes each task enjoyable?

"Knowing that you’re doing somebody a real favour. Of course, it helps that the people are all really nice too."

What have you learnt as a volunteer for FareShare?

"I think food safety in the kitchens is a key thing, because the food we provide goes to onsite kitchens where they create and provide meals, so those facilities require inspection in order for us to give them their certificates.

The exposure I’ve had to food safety means I’m also considering work opportunities in this area – which is quite a different direction to what I’ve previously done!"

Would you recommend volunteering to other people? Would you recommend that people volunteer at FareShare?

"Absolutely. It’s allowed me to meet new people and keep motivated and given me a real sense of fulfilment knowing that I’m helping others and making a difference to people’s lives."

If you like the sound of being a Customer Service Assistant like Peter, sign up to volunteer at www.fareshare.org.uk/volunteer