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FoodCycle: A Day In The Life

Clare Skelton is Marketing & Communications Manager at FoodCycle – a national charity that combines volunteers, surplus food and spare kitchen spaces to create tasty, nutritious meals for people at risk of food poverty and social isolation. They run over 24 projects across the UK, united by the simple idea that food waste and food poverty should not co-exist.

Clare says:

I don’t mind getting up early and have been told that I’m (annoyingly) bouncy in the morning. I’ve been trying to keep my running going throughout the winter so will regularly get myself out of bed an hour earlier than normal to run – it’s always worth it. I cycle to work from my flat in Finsbury Park down to the FoodCycle office in Bethnal Green – I love cycling and have a wiggly route through Clissold Park, the backstreets of Hackney and London Fields. It’s the best way to get around London and I’ll be in the office when it opens just after 9am.

I’ve always wanted to work in the charity sector and my main aim when I began (first as a freelance copywriter then as a communications officer) was to work for an organisation I believed in, so I feel very lucky working for FoodCycle; we have a mission that I really care about. My favourite part of the job is visiting our projects – it’s what we’re all about and it’s brilliant to see the energy and commitment of our amazing volunteers. I love sitting down and eating with our guests. Our projects have always been about more than the food. For many vulnerable people, actually having a conversation with someone else is very rare, so we believe we’re adding something much bigger alongside the delicious meals.

The best piece of advice I’ve received was to always be dignified – I had a client mess me around when I was first copywriting and it knocked my confidence- but it felt important that I rose above it and just got on with doing a good job for someone else. I studied English Literature at Dundee University then moved to London to freelance. This felt really daunting and a huge leap but I had some contacts from work experience I had done when I was 14, so got in touch with them. They let me sit at one of their desks, sent writing work in my way and I just had to put myself out there. I think freelancing is a really good experience and people looking to move into other areas of work can use it as an opportunity to refocus their career and use existing skills. I wanted to work within a team so went into project management with a marketing agency, then communications with a charity called CSAN and now I’m at the wonderful FoodCycle.

We eat lunch as a team and then walk around Weaver’s Fields – there’s lots of chat and discussion around each other’s lunches as we’re a very foodie team! My favourite snack would have to involve peanut butter! I try and finish at 5.30pm and then will spend my evenings going to yoga with friends, going for a run, having dinner with the girls or going to the pub with my fiance (we’re recently engaged so writing that feels very strange!) I’m training for a marathon next year which feels slightly daunting. With food, I try and do a big veg shop once a week – Finsbury Park has great little veg shops – then kind of make it up as I go along!

As a child I wanted to be a bus driver which I still kind of love the thought of!

My 3 online sources of inspiration are:

The Pool
1 Nike running app
2 Jack Monroe’s blog

3 Read more about FoodCycle.