Madeleine volunteers in the training kitchen at the Bagnall Project in Chesham, run by the Oasis Partnership. She really enjoys running baking sessions there, saying “it is a joy to go in”.


What is your role?   I run baking sessions for young people in the training kitchen at the Bagnall Project.  It is all very hands-on and inclusive. Each week I decide what we are going to bake and let the young people know in advance. If they don’t like an ingredient then we can plan to make an alternative version as well so we have some making cinnamon buns and others making fruit buns.

Each session lasts about 2-2½ hours and although everyone is focused on the baking it is a social experience too.

What led you to volunteer? I had been working for many years in the charity sector on the fundraising side, but I was made redundant earlier this year. This meant I had time on my hands that I could do some good with.

I initially thought I would volunteer driving people around. Baking with young people just wasn’t something I’d thought about but when the Volunteer Matching Service rang and mentioned the kitchen role to me, it just ticked all my boxes.

Being matched to the right role makes all the difference both to the volunteer and the charity.

What difference do you think your role makes? I see the young people developing and growing in confidence in addition to learning new recipes and baking skills. Some of them are really creative and this is a chance for them to demonstrate that.  I’m sure the practical and social benefits to them will continue well after they have moved on.

What do you gain personally from volunteering? I really enjoy it. Sometimes I go into a session feeling tired but always come out feeling invigorated.

I see the young people starting to make friends and develop confidence as well as learning to bake. At the end of the session, as they leave with their freshly baked food and having clearly had a good time, I think to myself “I helped make that happen”.

Do you feel valued as a volunteer?  The Oasis Partnership is very good at making us feel appreciated. Volunteers get regular newsletters to keep us involved and informed and I get regular positive feedback from the Volunteer Co-ordinator. I know I am appreciated.

Would you recommend volunteering?

Yes; I would definitely recommend finding the right role though and the Volunteer Matching Service can help with that. If the role is right for you, you’ll find it really rewarding.


Additional information:

You can find out more about The Oasis Partnership on their website.

If you are looking for a volunteering role in Buckinghamshire, you can:

Updated on September 18, 2023

Image courtesy of St Francis's Children Society