Arbaz Mahmood - FoodCycle

What’s cooking? Free Food for the Community, Thanks to Arbaz Mahmood.  

Arbaz studies business and management, but he swapped his laptop for a spatula to help FoodCycle. We caught up with him about how he got a taste for community volunteering.  

Why did you decide to volunteer?  

I had some free time around my work, and I wanted to help people in need. I was looking on the Students’ Union Opportunity Finder, and I saw Food Cycle. It’s a chance to help two causes – reducing food waste by recycling food and helping people who are going hungry by cooking for them.  

How has your volunteering experience been?  

It was great. The FoodCycle team were really welcoming, and they made it clear what was expected. I don’t normally like meeting new people, but FoodCycle made it easy to get involved from the start.

We were cooking a range of things – soups, stews, Shepherd’s pie - you use your initiative to come up with a meal on the spot. You do what you can with the ingredients you have.  

The best thing about this role is – it's flexible. I can’t spare every Wednesday every week, but when I can I just sign up a couple of days before.  

What skills has your volunteering helped you develop?  

Firstly, teamwork. It’s a collaborative thing where people chip in – chopping, clearing tables, everything really. After the first sessions you can teach other people what to do.  

As well as the teamwork, the cooking! Cooking is something I tend to do anyway, but I learned how to use my initiative to prepare a meal from the ingredients available.  

How did you find the training that FoodCycle provided?  

I found the application process very easy. The training is online, and it’s about food hygiene, and health and safety around food. You can do it in your own time. 

Is there anything that you would like to say to encourage other students to become a volunteer?  

It’s a good opportunity to further your teamwork, communication and your cooking skills. The flexibility was great for me – I might be in work one day but not the next day – so it’s great for people with a hectic schedule. It also makes you feel great to prepare a nice healthy meal for people who don’t normally get one.  

A reference from Ian, the FoodCycle North West Volunteering Coordinator  

Arbaz has been coming along and getting stuck in as part of our cooking team at FoodCycle Salford Central. He’s been part of the team choosing what to cook with the surplus food we’ve collected and then preparing and serving a free 3-course meal for members of the local community. It’s very much appreciated by everyone, thank you Arbaz! 

Get Involved with FoodCycle! 

Be like Arbaz, and volunteer as a Cook and Host at Salford Central FoodCycle! This opportunity is at the Angel Centre on Chapel Street, only a 15 minute walk from Peel Park campus. You can also get the bus there from the Salford Crescent Station. You can also volunteer Wednesday nights in Longsight, Tuesday evenings in Salford Langworthy and Saturday nights in Prestwich

Wednesday 12th February 2020