"My experience as a volunteer 'class host' has really opened my eyes to the different career options that are available to me and has given me the confidence to consider applying for jobs which involve healthy eating and teaching cookery. One of my highlights was being given the opportunity to lead one of the classes, in which I taught people how to make dim sum. It has also motivated me to start thinking about further education in nutrition and perhaps some more advanced, cookery training. Moreover I feel inspired by the people I have met along the way. I definitely would recommend getting involved."
"By volunteering with MIH I gained new experience teaching mature students (I usually work with children). I used a hands on, relaxed approach that I hope encouraged students to use their initiative and learn by doing. The opportunity has certainly enhanced my employability prospects – it’s included on my CV and MIH have provided me with a reference for various teaching agencies which has led to me securing paid work – which was brilliant. The experience also gave me a fantastic sense of giving and sharing – helping people to learn the skills needed to improve their health, which is wonderful. I also enjoyed feeling part of and involved with a community of food lovers."
"In 2012 I graduated with a degree in nutrition but afterwards I became very ill with PTS disorder which laid me up for 3 years. As I’ve started to get my energy back I wanted to use my knowledge to help people – but particularly people who can’t usually afford access to nutritionists and cooking classes. I’ve loved volunteering with MIH and having the opportunity to both assist teachers and be a teacher myself for the community classes. Knowing I’ve helped put a smile on someone’s face and with a few recipes I’ve helped to change their lives makes me feel like it’s all been worth it. It’s certainly help me feel more positive. Although I’m a qualified nutritionist I really enjoyed the plant-based nutrition training that was offered by MIH. It was a like information I’d parked in the garage was being dusted off and taken for a test drive again. It gave me the motivation to get back into my books and refresh what I know. It gave me the buzz I needed. The icing on the cake is that I now work for MIH as a part-time venue manager. It was exactly the sort of role I was looking for. Part-time hours spread flexibly over the week. It’s perfect."
"I’ve really enjoyed volunteering with MIH as its enabled me to be around like-minded people and learn more about plant based food such as how to prepare and cook it. I’ve been off work sick but still wanted to do something positive with my time but wasn’t as physically demanding. I’ve done the CNN Everyday Living Nutrition Course but the classes at MIH gave me the hands on practical side. It also helped me learn some new skills. It’s improved my public speaking and given me confidence to speak to a crowd. I’ve also done food hygiene and social media training which was very informative. I’d certainly talk about it in job interviews as it’s given me a lot of different skills and experiences. I also really enjoy the social events. Great atmosphere and lots of delicious food."
"I’m trained as a complimentary therapist and healthy eating compliments that perfectly. I wanted to help people to improve their health and wellbeing, people that might not otherwise be able to afford such help. I’ve got a lot out of being a volunteer. I’ve learnt a lot about healthy eating, learnt lots of new skills relating to locally sourced, plant-based foods and some nutrition knowledge too. It’s influenced my diet. My taste buds are subtly changing and I’ve noticed the positive changes are trickling down to my daughter too. The training MIH offers is also very good, they look after volunteers very well which I appreciate. Although I haven’t always been able to take them up on it the fact they offer first aid, food hygiene, social media, nutrition and child protection training is really good as you can apply these skills elsewhere. The summer and winter socials are always really good fun and I’ve won raffle prizes for free meals out which have been fabulous. They’re also a great way of meeting other volunteers. Overall the experience has made me feel really positive. I feel really good about being involved. It’s brilliant."
"My time as a Made In Hackney apprentice was a major factor in helping me get my job at Brockwell Greenhouses. MIH showed me food growing in the city was possible and steered me towards a career in this sector. Skills wise I gained invaluable project management experience and even managed a partnership project from scratch called Hackney On A Plate in collaboration with Hackney Library. It was quite a steep learning curve – scheduling, timescales, community engagement and delivery – but I was supported throughout the whole process. I learnt how to relate and connect to a hugely diverse range of characters which has been essential in my current job. I also gained public facing experience, admin, follow up, event recording – so much. Although I left a few years ago now I still feel part of the MIH family. I’m always invited to celebration events and read the newsletter from start to finish every month!"
"Projects like Made In Hackney are very important for the local community. We need to learn what is the proper food to put in our belly. Especially the young people. They’re the next generation and they grow on chicken shop and Mcdonalds and it’s not right. I very much enjoy teaching and passing on my food skills to the community. It’s always a very nice atmosphere and I feel good afterwards that I help people to eat right and stay healthy. I’ve had a lot of stress in my life over the last few years and the classes have helped me take my mind off it – even just for a little bit and improved my mood. The parties are always very nice too. I’m glad to be a part of it."
"I feel really happy when I’m teaching people. When I see they’re interested and they like my cooking. They want to know about Turkish food and I am surprised at how much I know and can tell them. I doubted they would get so much information from me – but they can. They ask me so many things and so far I can always answer. This makes me feel very happy and proud of myself. Before doing the classes I was very nervous to do public speaking, especially because of my English, but it was all fine and now I feel more comfortable and at ease. Everyone is always so kind and friendly. I teach them cooking, they teach me how to be comfortable talking to a crowd."
"After only a few weeks into my placement as a Project Apprentice I felt like it had become an important channel to connect with my community in so many different ways. I had for a long time been seeking a way to live sustainably and affordably in London, which naturally deepened my interest in how we produce and consume food. I am so grateful for the chance to join this ambitious power team. I am given a birds eye view of the daily running of a small but ambitious not for profit organisation. I also get the chance to connect with inspirational and passionate people, join in festive ceremonies around eating communally, empower people from all walks of life with cooking skills and awaken an appetite around eating what has been grown locally and organically. The time I spend in the 'cupboard' (aka the office) and also out on site visits feels important, rewarding and was often delicious."
"Beyond simply eating well for health, my experiences volunteering at Made In Hackney have made me appreciate the importance of social bonding and community building that food creates. The act of preparing a meal with other people, whether it be with your family or new friends, has an incredible impact on general wellbeing. I’m a true believer that the key to perfect health is in the kitchen, perhaps that’s where the elixir of happiness lies too! As a doctor who’s trying to inspire patients to appreciate the beauty and health benefits of food, this was an experience I wish everyone could have. Taking time out of my clinic and volunteering at the workshop really gave me an opportunity to understand what reservations people have about food and cooking. Sitting round the natural fire enjoying a group-cooked meal, I explored the reasons with some of the members. "It’s too time consuming", "It's expensive", "I don’t want to ruin it". But after the class, everyone seemed incredibly energised and positive about recreating this dish and more in their own homes and with their families. This is hugely inspiring and I can't wait to do more volunteering at this fantastic organisation."
"The skills I learnt and developed as a MIH apprentice led me to securing my current paid job in the third sector and my time at MIH was invaluable for equipping me with the necessary skills to do this job. I developed my social media, admin, marketing, public speaking and cookery skills to name just a few things. The apprenticeship was so much more than I ever imagined and I have loved being part of MIH and hope to remain part of it for years to come."
"Through volunteering for MIH I’ve learnt about the simplicity of cooking and how to prepare nutritious meals without fuss. Plus taking away recipes from sessions has been very helpful for replicating at home. Since taking the classes and then volunteering as a class host I am cooking more now than ever before and my fruit and veg consumption has certainly increased. Physically, I have benefited by learning about food preparation and eating more fruit & veg has certainly helped. I have not had a cold for over 6 months now! The volunteering has certainly given me a greater sense of connection to my local community which is what makes the experience so fulfilling and I always look forward to seeing the new friends made on the weekly workshops. It also highlighted other organisations locally which I have been able to visit. In leading a workshop myself I was able to share my own knowledge and empower others to get involved with food growing. I also felt a sense of value in myself by leading the workshop and this has increased my own confidence. Big up the MIH crew for all your amazing work."