The Arsenal Foundation has donated money to Made In Hackney, a charity that teaches cookery and food-growing skills to local people. Project manager Caroline Rognon, 28, from France, gave up a career in banking to get involved and here she reveals what helping other people has added to her life…
“Before coming to London I worked in major banks and companies such as BNP Paribas in France and Accenture/Microsoft in Ireland and, although I learned a lot, it never felt right for me. I needed my job to make sense, be ethical, benefit someone and make me happy too.
“I couldn’t stand being mad at the news, the corporate process, the omnipresence of money and feeling useless about it all. So I returned to studying, did a degree in International Cooperation and arrived in London in February 2013.
“I started with Made In Hackney as a project apprentice in April 2013 and haven’t left! I didn’t really see it coming but getting involved with MIH changed my whole life.
“Workwise, the apprentices have been given so much latitude to manage projects, propose new ideas, get involved in hosting cookery classes and attend outreach events. I seriously couldn’t have hoped for a better place to finalise my career change.
“Now I work as a project manager for Food For All, a not-for-profit and independent health-food store run by the same mother organisation (Amurt UK) as Made In Hackney, and I also work as a project coordinator for MIH.
“The proudest moments are when reading the signing-in book, where participants write comments after cookery classes–that’s when you know you’re on the right track.
“People seem very attached to FFA and MIH – they’re both so involved within the community, it’s an incredible feeling to be part of that. The feedback from people after the cookery classes is astonishing.
“It can be hard to juggle work and volunteering but it’s so worth it and opens unimaginable new horizons, you get buckets of new skills and that’s even without mentioning the mind-blowing people you will meet.
“It’s also another way of looking at the city and neighborhood you live in and makes you realise there’s so much energy, grey matter, passion and willpower out there that you feel things can only improve within society.”