Mathew Hales is a Project Leader at FoodCycle Birmingham Sutton, one of our newest projects! Here he explains how he came to be involved as a volunteer, what he enjoys about it and how it has helped to build his confidence.
I have been out of work since February last year from the hospitality management industry. I was struggling to get by day to day, so when my local job centre told me about Sutton United Reformed Church helping people in need I started using the Food Bank for extra food. I was feeling down, depressed and lonely but they helped an awful lot meeting new people started to help with my confidence.
Whilst using the food bank they introduced me to FoodCycle Birmingham Sutton that was starting soon, and asked me if I wanted volunteer. I wanted to help out my local community so I thought, why not? I’ve got to admit I was timid and shy to begin with, but really enjoyed it. Seeing all the food that was gonna be thrown in landfill and wasted from big supermarkets was shocking. After a while it started to mean something to me and my confidence really started to boost as my Regional Manger, Justin Powell, saw potential in me.
I worked alongside the Food Bank and introduced people from there to the Foodcycle project. They were astonished with what can be put together – a lovely Michelin style 3-course meal! I was also being helped with some of the food for myself as I was and still struggling. My confidence has boosted and boosted more and more and I met some great people that give up their time to help the community and sometimes it makes me really emotional. I’ve even been to charity events and am putting myself forward for running the Sutton Fun Run to raise money, all for charity. Every session gets better and better and I feel come this summer FoodCycle Sutton will hopefully be well known to the community. I am fully behind FoodCycle as this I feel it is my goal and want it to go far for the future as being made Project Leader for Sutton in such a short time was amazing.
Want a slice of the FoodCycle magic? Join volunteers like Mat by signing up here.