To mark Volunteers’ Week, we’d like to place the spotlight on Mark Watling, a volunteer who has worked tirelessly at the Burnley foodbank throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mark began volunteering at the Burnley Community Kitchen, where the town’s foodbank is based, in December 2019. Mark also dedicated extra days to picking up donations in the foodbank van whenever required.
However, since the outbreak of Covid-19 and the unprecedented demand for the foodbank service, Mark chose to increase his days and is currently volunteering four days a week , helping us to support those most in need as part of the BurnleyTogether partnership.
His role includes picking up food donations from around the county and BFCitC staff note Mark refuses to head home until all collections have been completed.
Mark explained why he chose to dedicate so much time to the foodbank initiative: “I like to give back to the community and I find myself in a position to do that. Although I am not a privileged person, I am fortunate enough to be able to give back and help those people in our community less fortunate than me.
“I struggle to accept the fact that people are hungry. This is unacceptable in my eyes as food is essential not a luxury, which is why I chose to volunteer for a foodbank.
“It makes such a difference to people and I am very proud of what we do. I like the variation every day brings.”
Anita Orchard, Community Kitchen Manager said: “All of our volunteers play a hugely important role in the day to day running of the foodbank operations and we can’t thank them enough. Mark is a very special person and he deserves this recognition for his outstanding efforts and exceptional kindness. He is an inspiration to us all.”
Mark is one of number of people who regularly volunteers at the Burnley Community Kitchen.
Another volunteer called Keith volunteers in the warehouse section of the foodbank, sorting through donated food and organising goods onto shelves. He also cleans all the fridges to ensure the Kitchen maintains its five-star food hygiene rating.
Keith said: “Volunteering means the world to me and I enjoy what I do for the Community Kitchen. I love working in the warehouse, we all get on so well. I enjoy helping our delivery drivers unload the van, booking in the items that are brought in – I love everything I do.
“Thank you to Community Kitchen Manager Anita for everything you have taught me. I feel like I have learned new skills – thank you so much for what you do.”
Burnley FC in the Community staff would like to thank those who choose to volunteer for our organisation in all their different roles. Our volunteers are the unsung heroes of Burnley FC in the Community and we are so lucky to have so many amazing people to support us. They brighten every day for us.