A Chat With Our Volunteer
We catch up with regular volunteer Jeanmarie Long on her experiences at UKHarvest. For over a year Jeanmarie has given up her time, providing essential help during the growth of our charity. Primarily contributing within the office, she has taken part in a variety of volunteering opportunities. We really appreciate her sharing her administrative and project management expertise. Thank-you Jeanmarie!
What is your background?
After 11 years serving in the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) I started working for West Sussex County Council. Initially I worked in Social Services and then in Education Services where I was the lead officer on the funding of schools and a range of other statutory education functions such as home to school transport. I was very fortunate to work with a great team of hard-working people in a job subject to constant political change. I retired from work in March 2018 and started to consider opportunities to volunteer, using my existing skills but hoping to learn more about my community.
Why did you start volunteering at UKHarvest?
I first heard about the work of UKHarvest when Stacey Cullen spoke at the Rotary Club of Chichester Harbour where I am a member. Members of the Club subsequently visited UKHarvest headquarters, then in Market Avenue, to understand the operating model. Stacey’s talk and the site visit provided a good insight to UKHarvest’s work rescuing food, reducing food-waste and supporting charities and vulnerable groups through providing food and education programmes.
What do you do at UKHarvest?
I started volunteering with UK Harvest in May 2019 and it has been an enriching experience. I enjoy the variety of my volunteering tasks and learning about the work of UKHarvest. I feel welcomed by the staff team and other volunteers and I believe that I am contributing to the work of a great charity.
Since becoming a volunteer I have supported the staff team weekly by doing various office administrative tasks. I have attended UK Harvest awareness raising events, prepared vegetables for surplus lunches and worked at the Nourish Café in Drapers Yard.
What else do you do outside of UKHarvest?
I am a volunteer at the Weald and Downland Living Museum and on a local environmental project to maintain an ancient copse. Since the lockdown I have become a volunteer at St Wilfrid’s Hospice, initially doing health checks on visitors to enable families to spend time with relatives and friends in end of life care.
I became President of Chichester Harbour Rotary Club in July 2020 and have nominated UKHarvest as one of my charities because we are working with similar groups of disadvantaged people. The Club is a registered charity and does a lot of local community work to support vulnerable families affected by domestic violence, mental health and low income. We raise money and apply for grants to provide essential household equipment (cookers, fridges, microwaves, furniture, bedding) for families referred to us by agencies such as health visitors, social services and housing trusts. We also work in partnership with Chichester Food Bank to provide gently used donated clothing for people on low income in all age ranges. Find out more about Chichester Harbour Rotary Club here.