Volunteer – Solvi

What volunteering role do you do and what does it involve?

My role is an evening cook across several accommodation projects including Byron Road, Selden Road and Manor Road, and more recently St Clare’s winter night shelter. I have also hosted themed cookery days, curry nights, cooked a Christmas day feast & also batch cooked from home over the Covid-19 lockdown.

The role involves preparing an hearty, nutritious, exciting, colourful meal using as much fresh produce as possible. My dishes generally have an eastern influence, inspired by my family background. I have chosen for my particular role to be very interactive, I encourage residents to cook with me whenever possible – this involves helping me decide what to cook, preparing the food, doing the washing up, helping me serve other residents, or simply keeping me company in the kitchen with a nice cup of tea!

We all always eat together around the dining table once the meal is prepared.

What inspired you to volunteer with us?

I’m extremely passionate about cooking and its therapeutic qualities. Food has the ability to create community, love, nourishment, comfort, excitement, family, friendship, togetherness, nostalgia, confidence, conversation and generosity. I wanted to find the right environment to bring these elements together, as well as cook a great pot of food. Turning Tides was the perfect place to do this.

What have you gained from volunteering with us?

It has changed my life in ways I cannot describe. The residents always thank me, but it is me who thanks them sincerely for allowing me into their homes to cook with them. I have met so many incredible people – staff, clients & volunteers. I get to cook the food I love, for people I care deeply about. It’s the best thing I have ever done.

What would you say to someone thinking about volunteering with us?

Do it! A personal, caring, warm touch really makes a difference.

3 words to sum up your volunteering experience.

I have only one – Love.