Volunteer Manager profile: meet Gareth Crocker
Gareth Crocker - Volunteer Manager, Food & Beverage, Hidcote
Q Within the Food & Beverage section of Hidcote, what typical roles could volunteers enjoy?
A There are three main roles that I would like volunteers to participate in. The first and likely more time demanding role is that of an ice cream host to man the ice cream bike for 4 to 5 hours per day. As we are open daily (weather dependant) several volunteers would need to be recruited.
The second role would be to act as host in Winthrop’s Café. This would involve meeting and greeting, helping to manage seating and talking to our visitors about Hidcote in general and also to take the time to say goodbye.
I would be happy to fit whatever day or days a volunteer would be able to do around their needs, however the hours would need to be anytime between 11:00 - 17:00 with ideally a 12:00 start.
The third role, and the most challenging perhaps, is volunteer kitchen assistant.
This would involve working alongside the kitchen team with their day to day preparations and any day / days that a new recruit could offer would be most beneficial.
Q Is it important for volunteers to have some previous catering experience or can they undergo relevant training at Hidcote?
A With all these roles, no previous catering experience is necessary as all training will be provided.
However, with the kitchen assistant role, there will be more training needed than the others in order to be compliant with current rules and regulations with regards to food safety - covering allergens, cross contamination, hygiene, food temperatures, knife safety, food labelling and chemicals (COSHH).
Q What level of support would volunteers receive on a regular basis?
A With all the roles, the volunteers would have daily support and with the Host and Kitchen roles, would be working alongside senior Food & Beverage team members at all times.
In the case of the ice cream host, this role would involve working alone for periods of time and cash handling, however a senior member of the F&B team would help to set up the bike, cash box and help clean down and put the bike away afterwards. They would be checked on periodically and would also have control of a radio.
Q How many weekly sessions would a volunteer usually do and what is the length of the season at Hidcote?
A The length of the season might vary between roles, so in the case of the ice cream host this is a weather dependant role so would ideally be suited to the 3-4 months of summer, whereas the other two roles could be from March - December.
Q What key benefits would you say a volunteer would gain by being part of Hidcote’s catering team?
A There are many benefits of being a volunteer within the F&B team, but some of the key benefits are meeting so many different types of people and engaging with them on many different levels. With the roles being food led, we get to taste and sample so many different foods (usually cake) which is a great treat for everyone involved!. Lunch is also included.
The roles mentioned provide great volunteering opportunities to expand your knowledge of our food and where it comes from or to learn how to use a knife properly and safely, and even how we make the best scones!!
Q Why do you think Hidcote would be an enjoyable place to volunteer?
A Hidcote is a wonderful place to volunteer, not only does is it have beautiful gardens, a fantastic history and great food, it has something much more valuable which is the genuinely amazing people who contribute to keeping Hidcote one of the most loved places I know of.