Volunteers needed for Hackney FoodCycle

Volunteer and help serve community meals to beat food waste and food poverty

"IT’S like Ready, Steady, Cook," says Clare Skelton, marketing manager at FoodCycle. The national charity is looking for volunteers, and she is explaining what their role would be.

“We serve a free community lunch every Thursday at the New Kingshold Community Centre, on Ainsworth Road. It’s cooked from donated, surplus food stuffs that are delivered in the morning. Then the volunteers divide into teams and decide what they can make with it,” she adds.

The hot and healthy three-course meal must feed 50 people. Many of these guests are dealing with housing problems, mental health issues or isolation, so the weekly lunch is an important fixture in their daily lives. For some, it is the only chance they have to sit down to eat and chat to others.

FoodCycle, however, is entirely volunteer-run, and keeping lunches like these going requires a roster of about 50 volunteers.

At the moment, the charity has an urgent need for Hub Leaders. These volunteers help to organise the others, and typically give up two Thursdays a month, between 9.30am and 3pm.

Clare says: “You don’t need any previous kitchen experience. We’re looking for people who are good at motivating others.”

Hub Leaders are involved in managing all aspects of the project, beyond co-ordinating volunteers, there is managing relationships with food donors, community fundraising, marketing, PR and social media.

Accordingly, the charity runs free training in all of the above at two bi-annual conferences. One of these events is happening in April, so the charity is keen to recruit people to these positions in the coming weeks.

Anne Engel, longstanding Hub Leader, says: “I have an enormous amount of fun. Volunteering at FoodCycle is full of wonderful, unexpected events and great food that really brings out the best in people.

“Our cooks are full of invention and our guests are full of enthusiasm for the dishes we create. Don’t worry though, it’s not all overly adventurous, we do a great bread and butter pudding too!”

To apply to be a hub leader, e-mail: All are welcome to join a Food Cycle meal at 12.30pm every Thursday.