Shona - cafe volunteer

A Coffee Break with Cafe Volunteer Susan (Q&A)

7th Jun 2018

We had a quick sit down with our amazing cafe volunteer Susan this week to find out all about what it's like volunteering in the Beatson Cafe! Read on below to find out a bit of history behind cafe and what exactly is involved in a typical day... 


How long have you been volunteering for Beatson Cancer Charity, Susan?

My first meeting about the new cafe was back in January 2016. A lady called Kathleen interviewed me and then a month later I actually started volunteering, serving teas and coffees.

Since you have you been a cafe volunteer from the very start, tell us how has it been from day one? 

When I first started at The Beatson we were giving out free tea and coffee from the hub office while the Cafe was under construction.  It was there that I struck up a very strong bond with Muriel, a fellow volunteer who I am delighted to work with on Thursdays. We like to chat in between working and serving in the café, as we have a secret mission to sort out the world! As you can imagine, the café is now much busier than it was when it first opened, but nevertheless I still very much enjoy helping out there and there’s always time to chat with customers, too.

Since I started there, there have been so many positive changes - the new café itself, the comfortable seating area and the beautiful gardens outside around the café.

Cafe volunteers Susan and Muriel

Why did you decide to volunteer?

After working in local government for 33 years I was given the opportunity of early retirement which I seized with both hands. However, after enjoying the first few months of retirement, I realised I still had so much to give. So when I saw an online advertisement for volunteers to help with the new Beatson Cafe opening, I thought I am definitely going to apply for that. My inspiration is actually my mum who is now 84 and still doing voluntary work (at WRVS and Seagull) and I aspire to be as good as she is. It seems that nowadays most people's lives are touched by cancer and it is good that I can give something back.

What does working in the cafe entail? Describe a typical day for us?

In fact, I am there to do my stint every Thursday but every week can be different. I might be making coffee, preparing hot foods, restocking or cleaning, so basically whatever is required as and when. I love that everybody works as a team. In my biased opinion, the Thursday team are the best! We have such a fun time working together and I’d like to think that we provide a great service to all our customers. I would class everybody that I work with there as a friend not a work colleague. Every time I’m there the time just flies by. 

What do you enjoy most about working in the Beatson Cafe?

I enjoy the whole package of volunteering as giving people a friendly smile and getting one back is so rewarding. The only thing I do not enjoy is cleaning the soup containers at the end of the day, but hey it has to be done! 

Beatson Cafe

What makes the Beatson Cancer Charity special in your view?

The Beatson is world leading and it is great to be a small part of this. The people who volunteer and the team in the Beatson Cafe make every Thursday special for me. It’s a happy place for people to go when they are dealing with some difficult times in their lives and I hope that we make it a little bit easier.

What would you say to encourage someone to volunteer for the Beatson Cancer Charity?

I would encourage them to come along and be part of a great team. There are a lot of different roles available which might suit you. As a volunteer, I would say that you will get twice as much out of it as you put in.

What do you enjoy doing in the rest of your spare time, Susan?

I love going on holidays and I enjoy a bit of walking and swimming just to keep fit.


We'd like to say a huge thank you to Susan for taking time the time speak to us about her Volunteering exeperience. 

If you have been inspired and want to find out more about volunteering for Beatson Cancer Charity, click on the link below. 

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