A Coffee Shop Volunteer’s Story…

I first met Jane Hackshaw back in December 2010 in the early days of planning the coffee shop. At the time I was working in Cambridge as an Admin Assistant but I was so overwhelmed with her enthusiasm and the amazing building that I came home and proudly announced that I was leaving my job and going to become a volunteer. Since then I have never looked back. After some very scary coffee machine training (given by a very lovely and extremely knowledgeable barista) and plenty of cake-making ahead of time we opened our doors for 3 days a week on February 9th 2011. The first week was beyond all expectations and the volunteers wondered what on earth we had started. It felt as though the entire village had come to support us – sometimes all at once! We joked saying ‘don’t worry this won’t last’ and ‘its a honeymoon period’ but we quickly discovered it wasn’t – Cottenham really did need and want us. Since those early days there have been so many amazing memories and so many amazing people, all in just one year!

For me it’s everything I love. I get the chance to make cakes, experiment with new recipes, and make wonderful coffee. I get to serve and speak to an amazing mix of people and I have really discovered that Cottenham has a wonderful community spirit. It’s easy when you work to just drive there and back and think that not much happens in the village. Its easy to go days or weeks without speaking to anyone in the village let alone know your neighbours; all this changed for me when I started to volunteer.

The great thing with volunteering is that you really can do as little or as much as you want. The day is split into two shifts of two hours with an extra half an hour of preparation in the morning or clearing up in the afternoon. Each week, Jane sends out the rota on email for you to add your name where you can. Alternatively, you can pop into the shop and see for yourself where you are needed. You only need some basic training to get started and its up to you whether you want to clear tables, do some washing up or make cakes and prepare the lunches. You can come in on a regular basis or when you can – it really is that flexible.

I can guarantee that you will meet an eclectic mix of people and you will be part of a very vibrant team. We not only volunteer together we also meet socially, arrange village activities and we really look out for each other. I love it and I promise that you will too!

If you would like to become a volunteer then please contact Mike Smith on 01954 251915 or  smithmichaelstanley@hotmail.com

You will need to complete our volunteer application form.

Or pop into the Coffee Shop for more details.