Tell us about yourself

Hi, my name is Helen Wisson. I have lived and worked in the local area for all of my life. I left school at 16 and started working in a bank where my career progressed, and found myself still working there 40 years later.

I love going to the gym to try and stave off the middle aged spread.  I have two grown up daughters who both live away from home so I enjoy trips to see them.  Since retiring I am trying to see more of the UK and visit new places closer to home as well as abroad.

What attracted you to volunteer with Food etc?

After taking early retirement at the end of February 2020 – great timing!  I knew I wanted to spend some of my time volunteering.  During the pandemic I worked as a volunteer in the vaccination centres which I enjoyed.

I had a think about the type of things I liked, and was relatively good at, and came to the conclusion that I liked food and cooking, and being amongst children – Food etc was the perfect fit

I met with Julie to find out more, shadowed her on a couple of sessions in schools to get a clear idea of what would be involved, and was hooked.

What’s your favourite thing about working with Food etc?

It may sound like a cliché, but seeing the children arrive at the session, enthusiastic about what we are making.  Giving them the space to try new foods and watching their confidence grow over the sessions.  I think the adults also get a lot from the sessions, just having that one-to-one time with their child, and working together without other distractions from home

I love hearing the feedback, I always ask for marks out of ten for the food that they have made at the previous session.

What have you found to be your biggest challenge about working with Food Etc?

You definitely need to be able to think on your feet and be able to adapt a recipe on the hoof.  Working in different schools which all have different set ups in terms of facilities and equipment.

Trying to work out why none of the hobs are working on any of the ovens, only to find they are induction hobs, and we are using non induction friendly frying pans was a fun challenge!

What would you say to someone thinking about volunteering?

Just jump in and give it a go.  I was hesitant about running sessions by myself to start with, but because we include the parents/guardians in the sessions, it makes it far less daunting.  Everyone is there to enjoy themselves, learn something new and have fun so it’s a lovely positive atmosphere to be in.

What’s your healthy go to meal?

Veggie lasagne. I also love a roast with loads of veg.