Bestop pic 3
Bestwood Park Church

Why we use our retirement to volunteer. And why you should too!

Every Tuesday between 12 noon and 2pm Bestwood Park Church becomes Bestop Kitchen, a community meal serving great food for a donation of only £2.50. The meal has been so successful that the Kitchen is also open every Third Thursday of the month between 4pm and 6pm. Since launching in July 2017 more than 4000 meals have been served and 450 people have been welcomed through the doors.

During the school holidays more and more families have been joining the Bestop community, with a queue forming for a table not long after the kitchen opens.
Bestop Kitchen is a place where all generations join together for a meal, the youngest is just a few months old and the oldest is nearly 100 years old. It is truly amazing that the church can be a meeting place for any and everyone living on the estate.
To make Bestop Kitchen happen a number of people give up their spare time every single week! Whether that is prepping vegetables, serving meals or washing up plates; everyone’s role is crucial. We met with a couple of Bestop Kitchen volunteers to find out why in retirement they choose to give every Tuesday to the community meal.

SHEILA - What do you do at Bestop Kitchen?
I came up here when Bestop Kitchen first opened, I had planned to ‘work the room’ and I was going to talk to people, greet guests etc. I heard a shout go up saying that we had no plates left – so I went into the kitchen to help and have been washing up every Tuesday for almost 2 years.

What would you say to encourage other people to get involved?
It gets you out of the house and it gets you up in the morning. And you can just have a laugh – I think that’s good when you are getting older. Some people think that as we get older we are worthless but actually we are worth more. I help in Kids church and I just love interacting with them, they surprise me all the time. It’s nice to be able to give something back. One of my friends from the local exercise class comes in to help now, she helps me with the washing up and last week she said ‘This is really fun’. I’m 74 now and still at it. It’s wonderful for the younger people to interact with the older people.

DAVE - What do you do at Bestop Kitchen?
I am one of the servers and look after all the people on my table. I take all the orders over to the kitchen and then serve the food when it is ready.

What did you do before you retired?
When I was in employment I worked in the Youth and play sector all the way down to nursery age with parent and toddler groups. While I was there I learned that in every aspect of play you have to talk to people in the way that they can receive it. I also used to volunteer with Citizens Advice – and loved giving people support. Authorities don’t have the money to pay for much anymore. If you want something to happen in your community – we need your time. Everybody has time; you just need to find the people you want to support. And then get stuck in.