Ben’s Story: Festival Organiser and Food Volunteer
There are so many people in vulnerable situations and who are struggling. If I can help in anyway I can, I will. I’m very lucky to be able to play a small part with the team.
I’ve been volunteering at Manchester Mind for the past 6 weeks in the Windrush Millennium Centre, preparing, cooking and batching up emergency food parcels. Some days we can be making 200+ meals, it’s a very fast paced environment. And in some weeks there could be 1500+ meals leaving the unit. Fantastic work from everyone involved.
Those that know me will know that I’ve gotten into cooking in a big way over the last 6 months, but this is the first time working in a kitchen. The rest of the team there have been great, so accommodating with me, and I’ve picked up a lot of new skills which I can take with me further down the line.
The Zion Community Centre, which is where the Manchester Mind offices are, also houses their cafe. Unfortunately it has been closed since lockdown, but this past week we’ve been cleaning, tidying putting in health and safety measure, ready for when the time is right to re-open. If you’re not familiar with the Cafe setup there, the focus is to promote positive mental wellbeing through the cooking, serving and eating of nutritious, balanced meals, at affordable costs. For instance on Friday’s the Cafe runs a ‘Pay what you can’ lunch session.
I’ve been out on a delivery run, delivering emergency parcels to families and individuals, right across the City Centre. There are so many people in vulnerable situations and who are struggling. If I can help in anyway I can, I will. I’m very lucky to be able to play a small part with the team.
It’s a rewarding role. Knowing that our help is going a long way for families and children, is a great feeling.
I run a festival for Manchester Mind, called You Are Not Alone (YANA), and whilst live music is currently paused, being able to work with Manchester Mind in this capacity, and seeing what happens behind the scenes has been incredible and my hat goes off to the whole squad here, they do such stand-up jobs.
It has helped my mental health considerably. I look forward to getting into the kitchen every week and getting stuck in. Gives me a sense of wellbeing.
Find out more about the emergency food response here