Thanks to a team of 50 local volunteers supporting a small team of 3 people we run a surplus foodbank very close to UCL campuses in Somers Town (NW1 1ES) just north of the Euston Road behind the British Library. We collect surplus from circa 45 local supermarkets and stores every week using a mixture of hand carts, bicycle trailers, cargo bike and cars. This surplus is sorted thru at our surplus foodbank and redistributed to 80 local households who visit the foodbank. Our volunteers also take the surplus and redistribute it to support 11 local hostels, 1 after-school club and a church group. Due to the nature of mixture transport: 36% of our collections are carbon avoided and 72% of redistribution is carbon avoided. We take in circa 15 tonnes of surplus food every quarter! Food and packaging that would have otherwise gone to waste/ incineration. We also operate a surplus cart outside for member of the public to engage with. The rise in energy bills means that there are many people in need in the local area. Just under half of all those we support in-house are children; circa 125. Our beneficiaries are hard-to reach communities and have English as an additional language. Mostly Somali and Bengali households. Thanks to volunteers we have been able to support some homes back into employment. The majority of people prior to the pandemic worked in the service and hospitality industry. We have so many opportunities for volunteers to engage with. What we ask from you is an 'intersectional' approach to how you treat people and a commitment to a regular shift on a weekly or two weekly basis. Do check out our instagram for more information.
Supporting our centre coordinator to sort donations when they come in. We recommend you wear clothes that you don't mind might get dirty as such is the nature of dealing with foodsurplus. We provide masks and gloves and even aprons if needed.
- Helping to prepare parcels 1-2-1 with homes.
For cultural reasons this is mostly done by our female volunteers out of respect as we welcome many muslim women at the centre. We'll provide the training through practice.
- Helping to monitor surplus collections as they come in and supporting fellow volunteers as they come to start their volunteer shift.
- Keeping the centre clean which can mean empty food waste bins, putting the bins out, recycling, breaking boxes, some hoovering, washing, cleaning and wiping surfaces.
- Tidying what we call is our 'Room of things' which can include putting items of clothing out, sorting donations, sewing or mending if you have those skills.
- Engaging with other volunteers and beneficiaries - we operate an 'each one, teach one' at the centre. The centre provides this intergeneration experience that is so rare to find these days in London.
Your volunteer support helps us to keep the centre running smoothly. We can only afford 1 centre coordinator per day. So without our local volunteers none of this would be possible.
We need in-house volunteers between 11am to 6pm from Thursday to Monday - which also includes weekends. Full day or half shifts AM/PM from 11am to 2.30pm - 2.30pm to 6pm. Please pick a shift that you can commit to regurlarly. We are also able to do alternate weeks.
Our volunteers let us know in advance when they have pre-planned time off. This allows us to put a shout-out on our volunteer whatsapp group for cover.