I’ve recently became a member of the CFINE family. To gain an in-depth understanding of all the segments of the organisation, one of my experienced colleagues, who has a great knowledge of community work as well as CFINE, has decided to take me on a trip.

Cornhill and Mastrick

We paid a visit to two of our Community Food Outlets (CFOs) in Cornhill Hospital and Mastrick Community Centre to have a brief chat with the volunteers working there every week.  I have to say- they both are highly enthusiastic and committed to selling fruits, vegetables and to have that short personal interaction that will brighten the clientele’s day, as well as theirs.

'Fruitman'

Billy Cornhill

Billy, one of our volunteers in Cornhill Hospital, came across to CFINE many years ago when he was facing some downhills in life.  Meeting new people and being part of the motivating ‘family’ of CFINE has helped him to overcome his own difficulties and become a rock for others in need.  According to Billy, the success of our Cornhill fruit & veg outlet relies on the personal connections that he built up with the staff, the patients and the visitors of the health centre.

“They say, Wednesday is the highlight of their week because the Fruitman is here” – refers Billy to himself – “It’s all about the cheeky banter, the good produce, brilliant eggs and the presentation” he says. 

Billy said he sells at least 19 dozen eggs, 2 crates of Scottish strawberries and plenty of the other produces in only 4 hours.  He was very busy with the stall to run, so we only stayed for half an hour then we left for Mastrick Community Centre.

Susan and new customer

When Susan first started at CFINE, she was only covering a few days for her friend.  During the past few years, she became a solid member of our team.  According to Susan, her regular customers in Mastrick Community Centre formed a community through the years. 

Fortunately, we’ve got to take part in the ‘coffee club’ that’s just right next to the outlet.  Usually, local veterans, retired people and the playgroup parents attend the CFO and the social gatherings.  Thanks to them, by the word of mouth this community is expanding.

“They are here for a coffee, a chat and the famous yoghurt raisins.  It’s food for the soul as well as for the belly” says Susan. 

Visiting the two Community Food Outlets was an amazing experience.  I realised, it is a lot more than fruits and vegetables, it’s about the personal interactions, that little chit-chat, the coffee and the laugh shared.   Susan’s and Billy’s commitment to the communities is impressive and… they were right about the yoghurt raisins too.