Welcome to our weekly LiveArgyll staff volunteering Blog.

This week we caught up with LiveArgyll’s Commercial Manager – Paul Ashworth, to see how he is getting on during Lockdown.

Hi Paul, how you are doing at the moment?

Overall I am doing well compared to a lot of people reported in the media. The main reason for this is due to the place in which I live, where I have easy access to the countryside to take my hourly exercise each day.

You are currently volunteering. Can you tell us which organisation you are working with and what your role is with them?

I am volunteering with Argyll and Bute Council as a Foodbank Team Leader within the Community Food Group Programme.

Tell us why you considered volunteering and what your volunteering role involves:

I volunteered because I wanted to be involved in the effort to help members of the community who are in a less fortunate position, as well as feel useful during this time of crisis.

The role involves leading a team of other volunteers and council workers in assisting and supporting foodbanks across Argyll and Bute to ensure they can keep up with demand during the outbreak of Covid-19. This has meant liaising with the individual foodbank volunteers, national organisations and third sector agencies.

There are currently 12 foodbanks in operation in Argyll and Bute and having completed a scoping exercise our team has looked to further develop the Argyll and Bute Food Forum, to offer further support. We have also established a recruitment drive for younger less vulnerable volunteers and approached supermarkets regarding food deliveries and onsite food basket donation areas. We are also, with the support of foodbank volunteers, developing a proposed ‘needs analysis’ procedure. 

We now have a social media campaign and content plan for both the Council and LiveArgyll highlighting the foodbank situation and how to donate. This has led us to investigate additional funding streams such as local businesses who have capacity.

The team continues to further develop links between the foodbanks and national and local organisations such Fareshare and the Independent Food Aid Network to ensure a coordinated approach to the information and supplies being circulated. Importantly we are developing links to school kitchens and increase the number of children using the school meals service.

I have also been asked to be involved with the management of local Distribution Centres at Dunoon Grammar and Kirn Primary Schools whereby I have been involved in the delivery of food parcels for the school meals and shielding.

You have been really busy Paul, but what have been the highlights of your volunteering experience and how would you encourage others to get involved?

Overall it’s been great to be involved with so many kind and thoughtful people. My advice to anyone who requires access to the support that we offer, would be to contact the Council Caring for People Helpline. https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/coronavirus-help-and-advice

For anyone who wants to get involved and can volunteer their time then have a look here for more information about the roles that are currently available: https://volunteerargyllandbute.org/vk/volunteers/my_opportunities_events.htm?event=1781


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