Our Training Weekend: How It Went

After the rousing success of our Volunteer Taster Training Day, turnout for our weekend was lower than expected. There were last minute cancellations, and some no-shows, which I guess is to be expected with volunteers, particularly those you don’t know yet.


That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a success. Kaizen, the training company, sent us the brilliant Andy, and despite, or perhaps in part because of, the small scale of the group on both days, the training was a wonderful team-building exercise.


Due to personal stuff, I was only able to attend the Sunday. I dragged my sister along (she’s fifteen and volunteers in a charity shop on Saturday, so I thought any sort of volunteer training would be right up her street), and we had a great time. Granted, we were very giggly, and at one point had to be separated, but a big part of the day was getting to know each other better, and I find people can get to know me best by looking at my sister.


The overriding message, on the Sunday at least, was about boxes, and how we’re all in them, and it’s left us all thinking- or trying to think- slightly differently. About everything. All the time.


We’re hoping to run further training days in the future, so I won’t be giving away too many spoilers, but it really is worth coming along next time, anyone who’s interested, whether you come back as a volunteer or not (although we’d rather you did).


Our quiz is on Wednesday, and tickets are selling fast, so I’d also encourage anyone who wants to get in on that to speak soon. Tickets are £5 a head, teams of 6, and it’s at Club Kingswood, 8pm. And my team are going to win.


I haven’t been in the office now for a couple of weeks, due to the aforementioned stuff, and so I’m a little out of the loop, but it seems like we’re really picking up the pace with the fundraising, and talking to local supermarkets about some weekend fundraisers after Easter, so watch this space for any information about that. Also, I hope you caught us in the Echo last week, and saw the bit about our food collection. If you missed it, and want to see some of my colleagues pulling some super-interesting faces, you can catch it here:




Conveniently, I managed to be out of the office- and completely out of the way- at the time of the photo op! It’s nice to get the recognition as an organisation, though- and the trolley will be in place for a few months to come. So get donating!


In other news, and the last bit of news I have for this week, our website seems to be fully up and running and fabulous again. You can catch up on the latest news and find out about us in a much less rambly way at:




Next week: ‘Let’s Get Quizzical: Why I’m No Longer Allowed to do Puns, and Also How My Team Beat Everyone’ (working title, dependent mainly on my team beating everyone).


Fundraising, and Other Ways of Getting Stuff

Our quiz night is fast coming up! I’m mega excited, because so far, I haven’t been directly involved with any fundraising activities. Since I joined Choices, we’ve had one town centre collection, while I was at work, which didn’t go with very much of a bang. There were other groups collecting in the town that day, and we were all mistaken for one another, meaning none of us came out as an overall winner.

The quiz, on the other hand, will have an overall winner, and is going to be great fun. Tickets are £5 a head, teams of 6, and it’s from 8pm at Club Kingswood, Sparrow’s Herne, on the 16th April. And we’re going to have a brilliant time.

My family and friends are excited, too- or at least, they tell me they are. I get very excited for them to see a bit more of what I do. I brought my mum to the office once, because she bought some stuff to donate, when we went shopping. She loved it, especially when I answered the phone, and we had to make up a food parcel, and drop it off. She thought it was very exciting and I was terribly clever. Of course, she was right. It is very exciting, doing something that has a positive impact on someone’s life, like providing them with food.

She also tried to hoover the office, with a very beaten up little hoover she found in a cupboard, and nearly succeeding in burning the place down. For some reason, I’ve never yet taken her back.

Recently, I was wandering through Basildon Town Centre with my sister, when we popped into Asda, and walked past a trolley full of food donations, with a sign on it saying ‘Support Your Local Food Bank.’ I prepared myself to be indignant, since the other large local food bank is Trussell Trust, and has Tesco exclusively onside- until I noticed the ten foot board behind it with the Choices logo. Thank you to anyone who reads this and put anything into our collection- it’s always gratefully received.

We’ve also got our training weekend coming up,a follow-on from our successful training taster day in March. It’s in Eastgate again, and it’s a great opportunity we’re providing for current and prospective volunteers to learn a bit about what we do, and pick up some skills along the way.

It’s going to be a busy month for us, and hopefully we’ll be able to keep up the momentum with fundraising, donations and public awareness. With our new volunteers fully trained up, we’re aiming to open our Lottery-Funded Community Kitchen very soon indeed, and after that there’ll be no stopping us from doing good things for the community. Watch this space.


Next week: Our Training Weekend: How It Went

After the rousing success of our Volunteer Taster Training Day, turnout for our weekend was…‘ (I can’t finish this quote because it hasn’t happened yet. Is that cheating? Probably.)