“It’s such an amazing place to volunteer and I’ve learnt so much!”

When Brunelcare started its volunteering initiative in early April, no-one could have guessed that over 250 people would register their interest in helping the charity. The volunteering team has been inundated with people wanting to help with several initiatives across the organisation, including telephone befriending, collecting and transporting essential PPE and even catering.

One volunteer, Nicola Ainger, has volunteered to help the catering team at Saffron Gardens, a Brunelcare Care Home, located in Whitehall, Bristol. Nicola was furloughed from her current role and decided to volunteer at the charity helping the kitchen prepare the meals for the Care Homes 70 residents and 24 from Orchard Grove Rehabilitation.

Nicola Ainger, Volunteer Catering Assistant said: “I have a background in catering and decided to help the team at Saffron Gardens. I wanted to do something that made a huge difference to not only the employees but also the residents too. I’m very much enjoying my time at Brunelcare as a volunteer and I have learnt so much!”

Nicola helps the other eight employed caterers at Saffron Gardens prepare 434* meals PER DAY for the residents living at the home. This makes a total of 2,170 meals a week, 8,680 meals per month!

Rogemar, Head Chef at Saffron Gardens has been with the charity for 8-years starting his career as a carer at Brunelcare’s Deerhurst Care Home, he then managed to work towards his passion of cooking and has been Head Chef at Saffron Gardens for five-years .

Rogemar Placido, Head Chef at Saffron Gardens said: “It’s been great having Nicola with us. She has helped tremendously the past few weeks while a few of our catering employees have been looking after themselves at home. She’s been a star. People don’t recognise catering employees as being key workers or front line staff, but we are. Volunteering at Brunelcare isn’t just about people helping us, it’s about us helping them. We can teach them new skills, continue person-to-person interactions and Nicola goes homes every day knowing she’s made a huge difference – it’s great!”