Every year at the FoodCycle Conference we recognise the work of our amazing Project Leaders. Our Project Leaders are volunteers who go the extra mile, keeping their project running to ensure our guests get a welcoming, warm, community meal week-in-week-out. This year we added some awards for individual volunteers who have made a big impact in their region. Here are the winners!
FoodCycle Outstanding Volunteer Award in London
Winners: Peter Bradley and Chris Sim from FoodCycle Finsbury Park
Peter and Chris are an absolute testament to the heart and spirit that leaders bring to their projects. Since the last conference, instead of gifts, Peter asked guests on his birthday to donate money to FoodCycle- in total he raised £1350. He has also developed a fantastic partnership with their food suppliers, City Harvest, to the point where they will now pick and choose the ingredients the project needs to try out new recipes.
Chris has been the driving force behind Finsbury Park’s frankly brilliant meals and food presentation. Although he got a bit of stick at first for his fussiness on ensuring each plate looks perfect, his approach has now been fully embraced by the team and guests alike. He is never afraid to get stuck in, whether it be in the Volunteer Coordination role, supporting with the team’s March fundraiser, or its upcoming collaboration with a local soda company.
Both of them, alongside the rest of the team, have worked so hard on creating exciting dishes that dazzle the taste buds of both guests and volunteers- blow torches, demonstrations in making wonton and recipes such as peach and walnut tagine are a common occurrence at the project, and it’s no surprise their meals regularly get a round of applause from guests. A big well done to the both of you!
FoodCycle Outstanding Volunteer Award in the North West
Winner: Dmitry Ignatyev
Dmitry is very much an unsung hero. He wouldn’t seek any recognition, he just gets on with what he does quietly. He’s been the surplus food co-ordinator at Foodcycle Manchester for a couple of years now, organising a team of cyclists who set out at 7.45am every Wednesday morning, regardless of the weather. They collect the food from different shops and drop it at the centre by 9 am, riding off to get on with the rest of their day.
The team relies on a number of really dedicated volunteers. At the start of the year, almost the entire team left at once for various personal reasons. Dmitry worked tirelessly to recruit new members to the team and keep the food supplies coming. Around the same time, he returned to Russia for 3 months but this didn’t stop him from ensuring the supplies were getting through. He set up a WhatsApp group for the pick-up team and coordinated their efforts and spoke with potential new volunteers from thousands of miles away!
We know how much Dmitry has personally put into this role and his commitment to FoodCycle Manchester, preventing food from going to waste and ensuring the cooking team at Manchester have the ingredients they need each week to serve the best possible food to their guests.
FoodCycle Outstanding Volunteer Award in the East
Winner: Dennis Wright and Yuki de Aguiar
This award goes to two amazing Individuals in the East both who go the extra mile in the role.
It’s difficult to list exactly what Dennis does because he does everything – FoodCycle Peterborough really would grind to a halt without him. He is there almost every Monday at the sinks, doing all the unglamorous jobs such as scrubbing potatoes or making his way through mountains of washing up – usually singing while he works. In fact, since the project opened in 2016 he has contributed well in excess of 400 hours, always going the extra mile. He’s often the first person in on a Monday and is always the last person to leave, and does the work of two or three volunteers – he even takes all the aprons and tea towels home to wash them after the session.
Yuki has given 110% effort in her role as Hosting Leader at Peterborough. She joined the rest of the team leaders and has quickly become an integral member of the team. She is dedicated and thoughtful and excellent at making sure things are followed up and get done. Her calm and measured approach is just what is needed when feeding so many guests each and every week.
FoodCycle Outstanding Volunteer Award in the North East
Winner: Zoe Deans
Zoe has shown an amazing degree of commitment to saving surplus food, linking FoodCycle Byker with many retailers and organisations to make sure as little is wasted as possible.
She has personally developed excellent relationships and ensures that Byker has an abundance of ingredients for every single cook. In addition to this, her collaborative and decisive approach ensures that volunteers are always well directed by herself and the other Byker leaders and really enjoy the experience of volunteering with FoodCycle.
FoodCycle Outstanding Volunteer Award in the South West & Midlands
Winner: David Stainton
Over the last 11 months, David has been an asset to the Aston team always going above and beyond. David is always there to jump in and assist when needed and is always so welcoming to new volunteers.
This volunteer clearly wants the best for FoodCycle both locally and nationally and works hard to see the growth of FoodCycle in Birmingham.
Fancy joining these amazing people as a volunteer? Find out more about our volunteer opportunities here.