Kate McIntosh, Local Organiser profile

Over the past few months, Cambridge City Foodbank has been recruiting a Local Organiser to work within the Foodbank community to combat the causes of food insecurity in Cambridge. We’re so pleased to say that the role has now been filled with Kate McIntosh joining the Foodbank team.

Read on to learn about Kate, her job role, her previous experience, and why we need you to get involved in the work to secure positive change in our city.

How have your first few weeks at the Foodbank been?

Extremely good – I’ve settled in quickly and I’ve had the chance to meet lots of our volunteers, although there’s many more still to meet. There’s been so many welcoming people who have been generous in explaining how things work, and I’ve definitely got the impression that the Foodbank is a well-oiled machine. It’s been fantastic getting to know everyone and how the Foodbank operates– I’m really enjoying myself!

Can you tell us a little bit about your background prior to joining the Foodbank?

Originally I’m from South Essex and after graduating from Durham University, I started my first full time job as President of my Students’ Union. After that, I went on to work at another students’ union, in a role that required a bit of everything – campaigning, representation, policy, communications, and public affairs, all of which I loved doing. I’ve also worked on a number of successful national and local campaigns in paid and voluntary roles.

I moved to Cambridge nearly three years ago now. My most recent role prior to this one was as a Communications Advisor at the University of Cambridge. I like Cambridge – in some ways it’s an acquired taste, but there’s so many wonderful and unique things I enjoy about the area. When I came here, it was during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, so it’s been interesting to see the community and city come back to life post-lockdown.

What is it about Cambridge City Foodbank that made you want to join?

There’s lots of reasons, but if I had to pick one, it would be that when I first looked into the role, I saw that the Foodbank is striving to have a longer lasting impact, beyond the emergency provision of food. Although that work is vital, I think it’s also important that we combat the causes of the need for foodbanksr at the root.

An organisation like the Foodbank, that is so embedded in the community, can be a catalyst for lasting change across the city, and to me, that’s incredibly inspiring. I feel like the Foodbank is the manifestation of community-mindedness in a lot of ways; it’s a vehicle for the community to combat the causes of the need for foodbanks, and I thought, I definitely want to be a part of that.

Can you tell us a little bit about your role as Local Organiser?

As Local Organiser at the Foodbank, it’s my job to understand the issues behind the need for foodbanks and build the power of our community to secure positive change. I think we can all agree that we don’t want to live in a city where there is poverty and deprivation, but we all have slightly different ideas about what changes are needed and how we can achieve those ambitions. What should be clear to everyone is that things won’t change unless we do something about it. That’s why everyone in the community around the foodbank needs to consider what they can do to be part of that lasting change.

I’ll be working with our visitors, Fairbite members, and volunteers, as well as other community organisations, to identify the local causes of the need for foodbanks. Together, we’ll choose a specific issue to solve, and campaign to secure change in that area, led by people with experience of that issue. Central to that goal is building the power and strength of the community, ensuring that the changes are completely informed by people with experience of food insecurity.

If someone is reading this and would like to get more involved in campaigning, what should they do?

Please come and talk to me; whether you’re an existing volunteer, a Foodbank visitor, Fairbite member, or working with another organisation. I’m currently focussed on understanding the situation as it is and listening to as many ideas and thoughts as possible. Please email me any time at [email protected]. There will be a briefing and planning meeting to kick off our involvement in the Guarantee Our Essentials campaign on 17th August, from 6.30pm to 8.00pm, at St Paul’s Church on Hills Road. Get in touch if you want to find out more about that, or just come along on the day. And bring anyone you know who might interested too!

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?

This year, I decided I wanted to start writing more because I loved it at school, but I’ve sadly neglected it recently. So I’ve started going to creative writing classes and I’m often writing about murder and betrayal in a university in Rome. Particularly at this time of year, I also love a barbecue. I’m barbecuing at every opportunity at the moment – any meal or occasion, I will barbecue!