In the days before the Community Grocery opened its doors our Trustee’s and their families offered to help with the final preparations to get the grocery store stocked and ready for the opening on 20th April. It was during this evening, while listening to the very humbling stories, that Ben Moulding was inspired to sign up as a regular volunteer.
A lot has happened in the four months since the opening, so we asked Ben to tell us in his own words: what a typical day in the life of a volunteer is; how the grocery is supporting the local community; and what he’s gotten out of volunteering at the grocery….
“I offered to volunteer at the Burnley Community Grocery after attending the opening night.
Whilst there I was told about the good work done here, and because I live nearby I thought I’d give it a try in my summer. Once I started volunteering my eyes were opened to how much we as a store can help (and are helping) the local community. After seeing this, I am both proud to be volunteering, and immensely proud of the work being done as a result of The Moulding Foundation’s generosity.
When I’m at the store my main goal is to maximise the experience of the customer. Mainly I sign up new people, show them round the store and go on the tills when they need to pay. Aside from this, I often partake in quality control checks, due the nature of excess foods which we often have in store we as a team must ensure our customers are not being served bad food. And of course, I’ll stock the shelves. We work as a team throughout the day to make sure the well-being of our customers is optimised.
The main thing I have taken from my time here so far is the sheer magnitude of the problem that the rise of cost of living has on our population. Whilst Burnley as an area has been adversely affected, this is a nationwide problem which charities, such as the Community Grocery, are helping to solve. I am proud to be helping in any way with these organisations; and very grateful for the donations from The Moulding Foundation, because the Community Grocery wouldn’t be able to open without it.
To emphasise just how important the work done here is, we had over a thousand members in the first couple of months, now after four months we have around 1300 members, and we constantly growing.
My favourite thing about volunteering here has been seeing, first-hand, the difference this place makes to so many lives. The store has often been referred to as a life-saver, it really is. It’s providing a cheaper alternative to a weekly shop, without forcing families to food banks, where their choice is restricted. Families are able to save around £25-30 per shop; £4 for a shop which can be some twice a week.”
If Ben’s experiences have inspired you to get involved Community Grocery has sites across the North and there are a number of different ways you can get involved