Spotlight on the management team

Over the past year we’ve been sharing stories from across different areas of the Foodbank to shine a light on all of the cogs that keep our charity moving. This month, we spoke to our CEO, Margaret Saner, to explain more about the different roles within the Management Team, why they exist, and what our processes are.

What are the different roles within Cambridge City Foodbank’s Management Team?
Our Management Team is made up of a number of different roles, each one essential for keeping the Foodbank running. I am personally responsible for the overall management of the Foodbank and am the person to contact about strategy, media queries and relationships with other organisations, including host churches and the Councils. I also take on the role of Volunteer Coordinator and deal with any queries about volunteering and organisation-wide communications with volunteers. If in doubt, contact me!

Merrilyn Fry is our Deputy Coordinator. She deals with all the phone and email queries from the general public, and is also responsible for ordering supplies, including posters and signage.

Currently on maternity leave, Heather Yeadon is our Operations Manager, who is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Foodbank. Her role is currently being covered Lisa Lee, our Operations Admin and Sharon Straughan, who is managing Capacity Expansion. Lisa is the main contact for questions from distribution centres and deals with agencies, including issuing red vouchers, while Sharon deals with new projects, like the Fairbite expansion, and arranges for supporting agencies to visit centres.

Jon Edney, as many of you will know, is our Finance and Systems Manager. Jon deals with the accounts and is also responsible for the online voucher self-referral system and the fuel referral system.

Stuart French joined the team last year and is our Warehouse Manager. Stuart runs the warehouse, managing stock and ensuring we use short dated items first and that we have enough packed crates to meet demand from the centres.

Lindsey, our Signposting Coordinator, also joined the team in 2021. Lindsey trains and supports volunteers in signposting and maintains details of what other agencies can offer and what services (like free/cheap meals) are available to our visitors.

Jeanette Friggebo, Special Projects, deals with ad hoc projects, like hampers and looking for new premises.

Merrilyn, Jon, Jeanette and I are all volunteers. Heather, Lisa, Sharon, Stuart and Lindsey are employees, some working part-time.

Why is it important that the Foodbank has these roles in place?
The Foodbank has grown significantly over the last few years. We need to be able to support our visitors, donors and volunteers. Having a team means that we can ensure somebody is always available to help, at least during the working week.

What is the process for key decisions made within the charity – for example, the expansion of Fairbite and the move to more warehouse?
The first step is to identify the need or opportunity. This might be suggested by a volunteer, a local organisation, like the Council, one of the Trustees or a member of the Management Team. For example, we might be made aware of a new warehouse unit at Orwell House, or a new shop unit. We might want to move warehouse because the lease is running out and there’s an opportunity to move somewhere cheaper or more convenient. The Management Team will consider the idea and put a proposal to the Trustee Board. The Board may put together a sub-group of Trustees to work me on developing the plans. Ultimately, all key decisions are approved by the Trustees.

What kinds of things can volunteers seek help with from the Management Team?
We are here to support with all areas of volunteering, but please do not hesitate if you have a question about how the Foodbank operates, if you have any concerns about a visitor, or Fairbite member, or if you have any problems with a host Church. We are also here to provide support with signposting and, if you need new equipment for the centres, the shop or warehouse, please do shout!

Can you explain the main challenges the Management Team faces, particularly with coordinating volunteers and ensuring services are not disrupted during busy times?
One challenge can be keeping the volunteering teams staffed, especially when somebody has to drop out at short notice. A gap may mean somebody from the Management Team has to do extra hours to cover, and that’s another reason why we have the team in place.