Our Volunteer – Robert’s Story

Posted on March 17, 2017

  My name is Robert, I live locally and am 18 years old at the present time.

 I first found out about Kate’s Kitchen, when I was referred by the local job Centre skills development team to ProjectScotland, where I met with the Academy Manager Lee Toti. It was explained and I understood that under ProjectScotland, I would attend a volunteering placement for 12 hours per week for 13 weeks. I would be covering a personal development plan and other tasks to help me improve my employability skills.

   I indicated that I was interested in hands on experience, linked to building/making stuff.

   Lee told me about a new project at Kate’s Kitchen, Annan, where I could get a chance to help in building a potting shed etc.,  I therefore agreed to visit to see the work opportunities for myself. A time was negotiated I was accompanied by Lee Toti to Kate’s Kitchen.

   I met with Jane Rose the Volunteer Co coordinator at Kate’s Kitchen, where she explained the various volunteer opportunities available that could help with my skills development and gave me an introductory tour of the premises. I then met with Pauline Neil, the Food Strategy Project worker who showed me around the courtyard garden and explained about projects that would have to be completed in the community courtyard garden before the growing season began.

   I admit I was “on the fence” until I learned that KFC kindly donated chicken to Kate’s Kitchen and this was used in meals at lunchtimes. I agreed at that point to go to the project for a week to see how I got on.

  I met with Pauline and she “buddied me up” with Bob, the DIY volunteer, who was in charge of building and repairing structures within the garden and the premises. I decided at that point I would stay for the 13 week placement.

   It has been a positive placement where I have been encouraged to take part in DIY repairs, small building projects other odd jobs that have come up at Kate’s Kitchen.

    I must admit I have not enjoyed getting up early on a regular basis, but I have enjoyed my KFC chicken, which Kate the cook has always made sure there, is plenty of for me, as I am a fussy eater.

    I believe and Pauline has agreed that I have gained new skills during my placement. Such as

   Working with others in a team as well as working independently

  Contributing positive ideas to the project

  Attending my placement reliably

  Being aware of basic health and safety rules whilst working

 Willing to try new experiences.

  Some DIY skills

Planning and completing activities in a timely and correct manner

– Working with food stock items, replenishing and noting expiry dates and rotating stock to prevent this.

 Engaging in team meetings in a positive and constructive way

Increasing personal confidence levels.

   I feel I would now like to continue volunteering at Kate’s Kitchen when my placement has finished, based on my personal experiences.


 I also positively enjoyed all the DIY opportunities and am now considering applying for my CSCS card in order to begin a potential future career.


  Lee from Projectscotland has helped me to apply for an ILA Account that will help me pay for the CSCS test and has also referred me to DGTap for extra support when I finish my placement with ProjectScotland.  With this support I would attend a job club each week on a Thursday, I would get support looking for jobs and filling in applications.


  I have also been looking at passing my driving test and Lee has advised me that the Holywood Trust may be able to help with funding for driving lessons; she has sent me the form to look through with mum and dad.  

   “I personally believe that this volunteering opportunity has been a very worthwhile experience, and that all involved have been very helpful. I would recommend others to do the same as I and to use Project Scotland to not only acquire new and helpful skills, but also for the morale booster and the social opportunities that follow. After all, without this Project, I would never have found the only place for miles that has KFC chicken!”