Celebrate and inspire as part of #VolunteersWeek

01 Jun 2023

As a volunteer involving organisation, we know just how important it is to have people willing to give their time. Thanks to the generosity of those members who choose to volunteer with us, we are able to achieve so much more for the dietetic workforce.

While we are quite rightly often championing the work of volunteers here at the BDA, we don’t hear so much about what staff get involved with away from their day jobs.

This #VolunteersWeek, we hear from some of our colleagues about the types of volunteering that they’ve been involved with.

Louise Prichard

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My volunteering started in the 1990’s, firstly with Age UK as a ‘Friendly Visitor’. This involved a weekly visit to a widower, who was agoraphobic and socially isolated. I was able to call for about an hour, have a cup of tea on the way home from work. It was great to listen to stories from an RAF veteran, a different generation and re-ignite interests.  After a few months he was able to go out and we connected him to a very local community centre. It was something completely different from my day job at the time as a senior manager working in the NHS at the time.

Later on, I became Chair of Southwark Crossroads Carers Association. Using my management and leadership skills, I managed to help secure some funding bids, so the volunteering helped advance my working knowledge and skills.

Since September 2022, I have volunteered as a Trustee with Nutrition and Diet Resources UK. This is volunteering in the food and nutrition arena and helping to support access to resources for dietitians and other healthcare professionals. It is more of a governance role so they benefit from my skills in finance and business development and I learn to experience the role of a Trustee and widen my knowledge of food and nutrition resources (it’s my first time in undertaking a Trustee role).

Fiona Audley

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Birmingham Christmas Shelter open their doors 24 hours a day during Christmas week each year and welcomes up to 150 guests daily. Their aim is to provide food, warmth, shelter and friendship to all; providing hot meals and drinks, entertainment, services such as footcare, hairdressing and housing advice, emergency clothing and a safe and warm place to sleep.

Guests may be homeless, vulnerable, lonely, hungry, wet, cold, lost, in poverty or just seeking somewhere to go at Christmas that is welcoming.

I have volunteered at Birmingham Christmas Shelter for several years now. It provides an opportunity to support my community, and those most in need during a time that can often be difficult for so many, especially during a holiday period which is quite often associated about being around family and friends.

My role as a volunteer can range on a day-to-day basis, and has involved preparing or serving food, organising clothing donations to provide care packages to guests, organisation or participating in activities and games or simply chatting to and interacting with our guests.

It is a week filled with joy, laughter, kindness and compassion, and an opportunity to forge friendships and support those most in need.

Liz Stockley


I have undertaken a number of governance roles in charity and not for profit organisations as a way of using my skills to contribute to the community and also as a way of developing my skills. I got involved as a lay board Director of GirlGuiding New Zealand in order to support the development of sound governance and bring an additional perspective to the organisation in 2016 when both of my kids were involved in guiding. I was involved until the end of 2021 when my family and I moved to England. I engaged well with the philosophy behind guiding with a drive to grow leadership skills in girls and young women, so the core purpose meant something to me.  I contributed as a volunteer to the Board and was actively involved as a member of the HR committee and the Finance and Risk committee.

Whilst it was sometimes challenging to find time to commit to this additional responsibility outside of the work environment, it was very rewarding. Not only did I enjoy the opportunity to add value to the organisation, I also learned a lot and experienced some things that I would not usually have the opportunity to be involved in.

For me the volunteering experience was the right mix of fulfilling and challenging and was quite outside of my normal day-job which gave me a chance to think differently.


Roy Bustin

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Most recently I was involved with a charity called The Lions Barber Collective. The organisation works to raise awareness of mental health and suicide prevention in men. They train barbers to create a safe space for men to open up and offload, and signposting to other organisations that can help.

At the time I was looking for a volunteering opportunity to broaden my understanding of the voluntary sector, and work directly with other volunteers in a setting that I knew nothing about. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and meet new people.

I volunteered to help the charity develop their volunteer programme, which involved having lots of conversations with barbers and making recommendations to the team. I was really struck by people’s willingness to help. It made me realise what a caring profession barbering is, and the difference that they are making in the heart of their communities.

I also enjoy helping in charity fundraising collections, and I will be supporting Birmingham Hospice with their next collection later this month.


Emma Lanza

Emma Lanza headshot

Since 2020 I have volunteered for a charity called Be Free Campaign. As an active advocate for mental health awareness, I was excited to support and mentor the partnership lead volunteer, and then also got the opportunity to project manage the development of a children’s mental health publication (being published later this year! Can’t wait to read it to my 3 year old). I am now a Strategic Advisory Board Member of Be Free Campaign. I’ve always loved volunteering as it allows you to experience things you may have never done otherwise and meet people you may never have crossed paths with in everyday life.  Other highlights of my volunteering experience have been coordinating a tourism festival in the capital of Tajikistan to enable financial opportunity for marginalised groups, and being a Youth Worker in the North of England visiting schools and running youth clubs.

But volunteering doesn’t have to be a huge commitment or so time intensive, becoming a mom I have to prioritise my time, and sometimes volunteering looks like writing a short blog for a charity, which is still meaningful and has a positive impact. 

If you are interested in finding out more about volunteering with the BDA, please visit our website at https://www.bda.uk.com/news-campaigns/get-involved/volunteers.html

To search for other volunteering opportunities in your local area, please visit https://doit.life/volunteer

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