Council’s volunteer cooks create ‘heaven’s kitchen’

Staff from Winchester City Council took time out of their busy work schedules to cook and serve 150 lunches to clients from Trinity Winchester, the city’s centre for the homeless and vulnerably housed, while their chef was on his holidays.

Trinity provides vital practical and emotional support to around 700 people each year, ranging from food and healthcare to mentoring and employability skills.

Eloise Appleby, Assistant Director for Economy and Communities, organised three teams of staff from across the Council when she read a call for help circulated by The Business Collective. She said:

Trinity Winchester receives core grant funding from the Council towards its running costs. In a district where most residents enjoy a very good quality of life, the service provided by Trinity is considered so important by councillors that they have named it as a designated partner organisation. We are always looking for ways to add value to our financial support, and active volunteering such as this provides a perfect opportunity for us to help – and for our staff to get to know at first hand how Trinity works.

The Business Collective encourages businesses to behave in an ethical and responsible way, supporting delivery of the Council’s economic objectives for businesses to ‘be good neighbours’. Cllr James Byrnes, Portfolio Holder for Transport and Professional Services at the Council, commented:

We believe in leading by example. The Council allocates up to three days of volunteering leave to employees, on top of other kinds of leave for community service – such as being a school governor. We also turn team-building sessions and training days into opportunities for community action, such as providing working parties for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust at Winnall Moors.

Alison Woods, the Council’s Economy and Arts Development Manager, who was one of the volunteers, added:

We all really enjoyed our morning cooking at Trinity Winchester. It was a bit like a Masterchef invention test, trying to decide what we could achieve in the time available and with the ingredients in the kitchen. We enjoyed meeting the clients – and of course there was a bit of friendly rivalry between the three teams to see who could produce the tastiest dessert. I’d thoroughly recommend the experience to local businesses looking to help in the local community.

Sue McKenna, Operations Manager of Trinity Winchester, commented:

We were delighted to have the support from so many of Winchester City Council's staff, the clients really enjoyed the mouth-watering food and were very well fed!

Winchester City Council works with Community First to offer volunteering opportunities for individuals and businesses across the district. Many organisations have volunteer programmes offering one-off or regular opportunities for volunteers. To find out more about volunteering opportunities in the Winchester District visit: