With the cafe’s temporary transition to a delivery service, we have been very lucky to gain the support of many new volunteers, but we have also missed seeing many of our longstanding volunteers. In the two and a half years the cafe has been open we have built up a truly eclectic team that ranges from teenagers to volunteers in their 80s. Everyone brings their different experience and different strengths to the team; everyone has their part to play in helping the cafe to thrive.
You might recognise some of our volunteers if you’ve been to the cafe but perhaps you don’t know much about them? We thought we’d take the opportunity to introduce a few of them here. As well as sharing a bit about about who they are and why they volunteer at the cafe, we also reveal some little-known facts about them!
Mike Stanger, Finance and Front of House Volunteer
I retired from work up in London two years ago where I worked for the same company for over 33 years. There were many different areas and locations I worked in so I gained a variety of finance and business experience in this time.
Having more time on my hands I was keen to contribute something back to the local community, so I came to volunteer at the cafe at the beginning of 2019. During that time I have enjoyed meeting and working with lots of different people, as well as being part of a team and contributing to the overall service provided by the cafe.
When I’m not volunteering, I enjoy playing golf 3 or 4 times a week, depending on the weather. I am also a member of the local leisure centre.
A little known fact about me is that I am a triplet – one of three brothers!
Janet Aslett – Baking Volunteer
I have volunteered at the cafe since it opened in November 2017, just after I retired from teaching Cookery at Woodfield School. The thing I enjoy about volunteering at The Merstham Mix is making all the cakes and working with a lovely friendly team of people. I especially like seeing some of my ex-pupils from Woodfield School volunteering in the cafe.
When not volunteering at the cafe I bake and ice cakes , arrange flowers, go cycling and walking and my new hobby is canoeing!
A little known fact about me is that I became a Queen’s Guide way back in my teenage years. I also hold the gold Duke of Edinburgh Award and I met the Queen at the Palace When I received my award.
Ivor Packer – Kitchen Volunteer
I have been volunteering at the cafe since July 2019. I help in the kitchen twice a week and have also helped at events including the Summer Fun Day and Burns Night Celebration.
Volunteering gives me an opportunity to get out of the house. I enjoy working in catering, which is something I did as a career for 35 years. In the past I worked at The Royal Earlswood Hospital, several hotels and for BT.
I also enjoy working as part of a team and I find everyone at the cafe friendly to work with. When I’m not at the cafe I enjoy gardening and cooking.
Liz Braines – Front of House and Baking Volunteer
I have been volunteering on and off for the cafe for about 18 months. The thing I enjoy most is meeting the customers and other volunteers and employees. It’s lovely to be part of the community and feel you’re making a difference. Plus the food’s great.
Outside of volunteering, I enjoy working most mornings in a local church. I also keep bees with a resident of Portland house in a beautiful garden in Reigate and sing badly in Reigate Rock Choir. That does sadly limit my time to volunteer at the cafe.
I also really love walking, nature and being outdoors. I’ve been involved with the Merstham Wildlife Sightings & Guide Facebook page. I’m hoping I can be involved in organising a wildlife sightings and walking group in Merstham once we’re out of lockdown.
Adrian Harrow – Marketing Director and Front of House Volunteer
I started volunteering in December 2018 as I wanted to meet new people, make a difference and become involved with a community project. I then joined the board in August 2019 as Marketing Director.
Everything about The Merstham Mix Café is brilliant: from the staff and volunteers who go the extra mile to help people in the community, to the management team and board of directors who continually work behind the scenes to improve different aspects of our service.
Outside of The Mix, I work as Head of Marketing for an IT company. My hobbies include darts, tennis and watching football… can’t wait for the Premiership to be back!
A little known fact about me is that I have a steel rod (due to an operation) going through one of my big toes… which I can never bend! Luckily it doesn’t cause issues at airports!
We hope you enjoyed meeting some members of the team! If you are interested in volunteering for the cafe when it re-opens please drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org