Simon Gough, warehouse volunteer

In every newsletter, we speak to someone at the Foodbank who helps us to make a difference to our community. This month, we spoke to Simon Gough, a long-term volunteer at our warehouse.

Read on to learn more about Simon, why he volunteers at the Foodbank and his impressing cycling fundraising efforts!

Can you tell us about your background?

I was born in Richmond, West London, and grew up in the Capital. I went to university and after graduating, I moved to Cambridge. I worked as a systems analyst at a number of companies in Cambridge, but most recently worked for a company in Harlow. In April 2019, my wife and I decided to retire so that we could start doing more of the things that we enjoy.

What is your role at the Foodbank?

I work as part of the warehouse team on Friday mornings. Volunteering in the warehouse means packing food parcels, sorting donations, and a lot of reading of sell by date labels! My varifocals get used quite a bit and I can imagine my reading skills have improved immeasurably!

What inspired you to volunteer with the Foodbank?

A friend of mine volunteers at a Trussell Trust foodbank in London and she really enjoys doing it. After speaking with her about her role, I wanted to try it for myself and found that it works really well for me. I was looking to volunteer on a regular basis, so having that Friday slot is a nice routine for me.  I can’t think of a better cause to give my time to. It’s just a bonus that I also really enjoy it.

What are some of the things you enjoy most about volunteering with the Foodbank?

The thing I enjoy most of all is working with my colleagues. I really enjoy the interactions we have on a Friday and the conversations we have are brilliant. From setting the world to rights to debating whether a Jaffa Cake is a biscuit or a snack, it’s just a lovely environment to be in. The Foodbank is a cause that I’m more than happy to support and it’s nice to be able to have a good time while doing so.

Can you tell us about the charity cycle ride you completed?

I’m a keen cyclist and have been for some time. For a while, I thought about cycling over the Pyrenees Mountains in France and in September last year, I did just that. It was initially something that I wanted to do for my own enjoyment, but after chatting about it to the team at the Foodbank, they suggested doing it for a charitable cause. I thought that was a great idea and decided to raise money for the Foodbank in the process.

I started the journey with three friends and in total it took us about eight days. We cycled over 400 miles and passed over 23 mountain passes, all while raising money for the Foodbank. It was a gorgeous trip and I didn’t feel too sore at the end which was a real bonus!

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not volunteering with the Foodbank?

As you may have guessed, I like cycling. It’s a fantastic way to keep myself fit and it’s my favourite way of getting down to the Foodbank warehouse as well. I live just south of the city so it’s a lovely cycle – unless it rains. I also love art and I’m involved in helping to run an art gallery in Saffron Walden. In my spare time at home, I keep bees which is very therapeutic and I get to harvest my own honey!