Meet our volunteer warehouse assistant – Siobhain’s Story

30 August 2018

Siobhain has been volunteering as a warehouse assistant with FareShare Central and South East Scotland depot, in Edinburgh, for just over three years.

The role is varied and sees her help out with ensuring food quality and safety, categorising and recording food and assembling orders for charity members. Here's what she had to say about her experience.

How did you get involved with FareShare?

"I first arrived in Edinburgh just over three years ago. I arrived in the city with £15 in my pocket and knowing just one person here. I called my friend and he recommended volunteering at FareShare as a way to help get me back on my feet and meet new people. He’d previously battled addiction and FareShare had been a fantastic outlet in keeping him busy as part of his recovery process. By my second day here I’d already visited the warehouse!

I’m now mostly based in the depot, helping out in the warehouse by picking and ordering deliveries. I volunteer anywhere between five and six days a week."

How would you describe your experience?

"The company and the banter are what keep me coming each week. Everyone is so nice and welcoming and I’ve made some great connections – many that I’m still good friends with now. We often socialise outside of FareShare, I even do a regular Sunday lunch for a few of the volunteers.

When I got my first house here, it was unfurnished. Now, pretty much all the stuff I have has been given to me by other volunteers – everyone is just so keen to help! I’ve developed a real support network here, we all look out for each other.

Whilst I’m not employed, as volunteering is in shift patterns, it also helps me to have a bit of routine, which I like."

What has been the best thing about your volunteering experience at FareShare?

"I've used foodbanks in the past, so I know what it’s like to experience food insecurity and what a struggle it can be – and I only had myself to look after, I can only imagine how much more difficult it would be if you had children relying on you. And that’s why it’s great that through FareShare, I’m able to give back.

Through volunteering here, I’ve also seen firsthand how much food becomes surplus in the industry, so it’s great that we’re in a strong position to take and redistribute that food and I think that on the whole, we do a pretty good job. I know a lot of the beneficiaries who receive our food are low income families who work really hard but still struggle to make ends meet. Knowing that we’re able to provide them with good food that will relieve some of the pressure is a real comfort."

If you like the sound of being a warehouse assistant like Siobhain, then sign up to volunteer at www.fareshare.org.uk/volunteer