‘Food bank turned my life around’

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A food bank volunteer and user has spoken to the ‘Tiser this week in a bid to encourage even more support for our Feed Our Families campaign.

Lynn Wheatley,55, was introduced to the Arena’s community headquarters and the work they do after she asked the job centre to find her voluntary work while she was job hunting.

She was taken on at the Belfield Street building as a cleaner after speaking to the centre’s manager Lisa Harrison.

Lynn explained: “I was out of work but wanted to be doing something, I asked if there was anywhere I could volunteer and I’ve never looked back.

“Since I stepped through the door here I’ve never once felt judged and now it feels like being part of a family.

“I started doing the cleaning and helping out and I love it.

“The people here are different to anyone I’ve ever been around before.

“Everyone has their problems but a lot of here have struggled to cope with them.

“I know I have but Lisa and the rest of the teamhave helped me and even when they might not have been able to, they’ve listened to me and no one ever has before.”

After a few months volunteering at the charity’s warehouse Lynn had an interview for a job.

With a glowing reference from Lisa and help preparing for the interview she was offered the cleaning job.

Lisa said: “I was really happy for Lynn but this place struggled without her, everyone who olunteers here has a massive part to play.”

Lynn added: “When I started work I stopped coming here but my life felt empty without it.

“Now I come in on my days off because it makes a massive difference to me being involved and helping with such a worthwhile project.

“I can’t thank Lisa and the charity’s supporters enough.”