Three of North Yorkshire’s police chiefs turned their hand to waiting on tables and washing pots for an evening as they volunteered for a charity that supports homeless and vulnerable people in York.
Kitchen for Everyone York (KEY) is an organisation that provides meals to York’s homeless and vulnerable people on a Tuesday evening and Sunday morning, along with a Saturday evening outreach programme.
The three chief officers, Chief Constable Lisa Winward (waitress), Deputy Chief Constable Phil Cain (washer-up) and Assistant Chief Constable Annette Anderson (tea and coffee maker) helped out last Tuesday evening (26 November).
As the national lead for Citizens in Policing – the term for police volunteers – Chief Constable Winward believes that it’s important to experience volunteering herself. She said: “Personally as the national lead for police volunteering, I want to experience volunteering for other agencies. I think it is important to see the world from their perspective and also offer our help to all of the amazing good causes out there as well as supporting the dedicated people who turn out to help others.”
The three chiefs were supervised by team leader Helen Rawling who explained that volunteers work on a rota to cover all of Tuesday evenings. They prepare and serve a hot, three-course meal for homeless and vulnerable people based on the ethos that homeless people never experience ‘table service’ or being waited on. So when the customers arrive, they get a hot drink and sit down before being served at the table with a starter, main course and dessert.
The visitors get to keep warm and socialise and they can also take cold food away with them that has been donated by local shops.
CC Winward added: “It was the most amazing and very humbling experience. I met lots of lovely people who have found themselves on the streets through no fault of their own and had come upon hard times.
“The volunteers are all fantastic people who do so much to show our communities care and support, all in their own time and at their own expense.”
Team leader Helen added: “It was a pleasure to welcome along Lisa, Phil and Annette to KEY to take part in our Tuesday evening service. After telling them some history about ourselves we set them on with various roles and they were brilliant. They all excelled in the jobs given and were happy to do anything asked of them. It was great to see them getting stuck in with our regular volunteers and chatting to our service users. They would be more than welcome to come back anytime to help us again.
“Raising awareness by allowing outside participation is essential to us at KEY to allow others to see what we do week in, week out, to help those in need. Many thanks to all three for your help, your professionalism and your enthusiasm.
”ACC Anderson added: “It was an incredibly rewarding experience to work alongside the regular volunteers who spend so much time and effort preparing the meals for the service. It has definitely inspired me to give more of my time to volunteering.” Thoughts echoed by DCC Cain who said: “It was a truly humbling and rewarding experience.”
Chief Constable Winward also volunteered with Northallerton Street Angels earlier this month and will be looking out for other volunteering opportunities for herself and the rest of the chief officer team over the coming months.
Street Angels patrol the town on Saturday evenings between 10pm and 4am to provide support to vulnerable people.
For more information about Street Angels, visit www.northallertonstreetangels.co.uk
For more information about Kitchen For Everyone visit www.kitchenforeveryoneyork.org
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