Miffy… cooking up a volunteering storm in the Dudson Cafe

Miffy is one of the amazing volunteers that volunteers for the Dudson Centre café.

Blending local heritage and a busy voluntary and community sector hub, the Dudson Centre is built on a former pottery factory site. It provides a fascinating insight into local history, thanks to the impressive Dudson Museum housed in the courtyard.

The Dudson Centre is managed by VAST, the local voluntary sector experts that provide a home for a growing number of charities, CICs, social enterprises, and community groups, all working to help the people of Stoke-on-Trent. Inside the centre is the Dudson Café, serving a range of simple, tasty, and wholesome food in a relaxed and friendly environment. It’s is regularly visited by tourists, organisations, and individuals from the city and surrounding areas wishing to use the fantastic facilities on offer which include free Wi-Fi.

Gloria, Project Officer in VAST’s volunteering team initially met with Miffy in September 2023 after she got in touch to discuss volunteering. Gloria completed an inclusive volunteering questionnaire which asked questions on wellbeing, loneliness, skills, transportation and more.

Photo shows a woman wearing an apron and dispensing coffee from a coffee machine.Miffy explained that she hadn’t volunteered before, and wanted to get started to “meet new people, make friends, and gain experience”.

Miffy particularly liked the idea of volunteering in a café, as a family member had recommended the role, so was very excited to start her volunteering journey.

Just some of the duties that Miffy supports with include, supporting café staff, volunteers and trainees in the day to day running of the café, assisting front of house taking orders and serving hot and cold drinks, basic food preparation, cleaning and serving food to customers and clients, ensuring that the café and kitchen area are left clean and tidy and waste is discarded safely, as well as working with the café supervisor to ensure relevant paperwork is completed and checks are carried out ensuring compliance against relevant health and safety policies and procedures.

Miffy volunteers each week and is a tremendous asset to The Dudson Centre café.

“When Miffy started at the café she worked in the kitchen and washed dishes, she was quite shy but settled in well. A few weeks after the start of Miffy’s volunteer role Miffy began to watch Catherine working behind the counter and became interested in the work Catherine did. Miffy now serves behind the counter serves drinks for customers along with Catherine and also helps with some of the prepping in the kitchen”.

Miffy explains that she “enjoys helping staff and wanted to give her time to help others as this makes her happy.”

Looking to the future, Miffy explained that volunteering has given her “lots of hope and great ideas.”

I’m sure you’ll agree, Miffy is most definitely looking forward to a bright future!