Volunteer with us
In just over a year, our volunteers have provided more than one million free meals to people in need across Edinburgh. We'd love it if you could join our community.
As a first step please fill out the sections below. Tell us about your previous work experience, your availability, and how to reach you. You can find more information about our different volunteer roles beneath the form. Please note, we require our volunteers to be 16 years of age and older.
Volunteer Application Form
Join the Team
We have five main shift types - Packing, Hot Service, Delivery (car, bike, or van), Cleaning, and Kitchen Porter.
There are three additional roles that require training or experience: the Kitchen Assistant program is for anyone interested in gaining cooking skills. Chefs - any qualified or experienced chefs can volunteer in our chef team. Lastly, we have a number of admin roles across various teams.
We have shifts in the morning, afternoon, and evening, seven days a week, as well as shorter and longer shifts – [see times here].
Volunteers sign up for shifts just a week in advance, or you can simply take on shifts from the published rota last minute, wherever there’s a gap – we keep things very flexible to accommodate everyone’s availability.
Our packing shifts consist of turning the cooked meals into individual portions and meal packs. They are perhaps the most varied and you can be doing anything from slicing bread to labelling allergens, to sanitising crates, cleaning or unloading deliveries.
This is a great opportunity to interact with our clients and see the positive impact our service has in the community. We serve free hot meals to take away from outside Leith Theatre, between 12-1pm and 4.30-5.30pm daily. Our hot service volunteers prepare, set up and serve the lunch and dinner meals, as well as cleaning up afterwards and re-stocking.
Delivery - car and bike
A delivery shift will generally contain a minimum of 20 stops depending on your route, method of transport and amount of people volunteering that day.
If you are volunteering as a cyclist/driver, you must have your own bike or car and a smartphone with internet access as this is how your delivery route is distributed. We also have a van which can be driven by anyone over 25, but only if you have first done a number of delivery shifts so you are familiar with the procedure. You must be comfortable using simple technology such as satnav within Google maps. You will be delivering to a cross-section of society which includes vulnerable adults.
Kitchen Porters (KPs)
The KPs support our chefs to free up their time to focus on cooking. It is a popular, fast-paced, shift with LOTS of dish-washing, in a noisy, busy kitchen with great banter from the team. It also involves cleaning areas of the kitchen including sinks, walls and floors, and anything else that gets dirty. There can be some heavy lifting of big pots and using an industrial dishwasher. KPs may also assist with basic food preparation such as washing, peeling, and chopping vegetables.
The cleaning shift is a nice short, 2-hour shift which is great for anyone who wants to support us but who doesn’t have a lot of time to give. It involves sweeping and mopping the hall, foyer, corridors, laundry and toilets. Our cleaning volunteers are really essential to our operations in allowing us to maintain a hygienic food-handling environment throughout the building.
Running a community organisation with literally hundreds of volunteers and thousands of clients takes a LOT of administration and office time. From the Welcome Desk (Reception) to logistics or building rotas, we have a number of roles in our admin teams. We usually require a minimum one-day per week commitment, but that’s not always the case.
We are also often in need of assistance in additional areas such as web design, IT, social media, graphic design, fundraising, video editing, or expertise in Microsoft Excel. So, let us know when you apply if you can assist with anything additional.
As well as our chef and KP volunteer positions in the kitchen, we're also running a Kitchen Assistant programme. This is the perfect role for those interested in gaining food and kitchen skills, and participants gain a Level 2 Food Hygiene Certificate as well as invaluable experience. Kitchen Assistants get the opportunity to work with our professional chefs and learn a variety of skills including how to cook for hundreds en-masse.
Our chef role is for either professional, qualified chefs or simply those who have some kitchen experience. We are keen to take on anyone who’s cooked before. The role involves preparing meals on a huge scale – every day we make mains and soups for over a thousand people. Therefore, our kitchen is a pretty busy place, with a fabulous team who do remarkable work. Chefs create meals based on whatever food has been recently donated, so our menu can be hugely varied and require creative and resourceful cooking.