This is an enormously difficult time for so many people and we are all struggling in different ways as we cope with the pressures of being unable to live and work as normal as we deal with Covid-19.
As a City Councillor and member of the executive I’m spending a lot of time working to ensure that the council does everything it can. Many of our staff are working from home, and doing a great job, while some, like refuse collectors and street cleaners, have had to adapt their working practices in order to stay safe. Children’s parks are closed and we have limited car parks for use by essential workers.
Last week I was one the volunteers who helped prepare the evening meals with Food Cycle Cambridge. This is a great charity that receives unsold food from shops and supermarkets to prepare regular meals for people across Cambridge.
I first volunteered in 2016, just before Christmas. Now that my children have left home I don’t have to worry so much about family obligations, and I’ve also become less happy with the excess consumption that is so common. I decided that over this period I will always try to give to the community, so rather than have an office Christmas dinner last year the office was closed and those who wished to volunteer joined me at Food Cycle.
This year we did the same.
The community kitchen isn’t big, but it was fine for the team of four plus our supervisor to prepare and cook two dishes for the main course and two desserts, all vegetarian dishes and the majority vegan. It was a challenge but fun and we were all proud of the dishes made.
My part in the evening was very small, but it has made a big impact on me. I was a cog in wheel that was turning to do good. There are many more wheels turning to improve the lives of others and every effort to assist is important.
If I’m elected to represent Trumpington then I’ll work hard to support great initiatives like this. We shouldn’t expect volunteers to replace services that should be properly funded, like libraries, but there are many areas of our lives where voluntary work can make a difference to people – and be rewarding for those taking part, as I’ve found myself.