We had a quick chat with our amazing cafe volunteer Susan to find out all about what it's like volunteering in the Beatson Café. Read on to find out a bit of history behind cafe and what exactly is involved in a typical day...
My first meeting about the new cafe was back in January 2016 and then a month later I actually started volunteering, serving teas and coffees.
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.
There have been so many positive changes since I started there - the new café itself, the comfortable seating area and the beautiful gardens outside around the café.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 experience.
If you have been inspired, find out more about volunteering for Beatson Cancer Charity.