Today I took the opportunity to volunteer at PACT House, a local community project based in Stanley. PACT House is based in the old Lloyds Bank building at the bottom of Stanley Front Street and has been completely transformed by a team of volunteers who began work nearly a year ago today. The aim of PACT House is “to improve the health, wellbeing and aspirations for the whole community in Stanley, alleviate poverty, advance education and bring the whole of the community together.”
Wednesday is Community Meal day – where donations of food from local people, shops and organisations, are transformed into delicious hot meals which are free for all. However, those who are able to donate for their meal provide money for the service to continue. It’s a great way of bringing the community together in creating, serving and eating some really nice food, and also making sure that food doesn’t go to waste unnecessarily.
Today I was helping out Paula who is the main co-ordinator of all the volunteers and all-round culinary genius. It was great fun being confronted with a completely random selection of food and then watching Paula figure out four or five different main courses she could create with them on a large scale. It was kind of like being in a real life Masterchef challenge! I must say Paula is one of the nicest and most positive people I have ever met and clearly cares a lot about the local community. Not only that but she can run a kitchen full of volunteers without batting an eyelid! She really was an inspiration.
PACT House is also an internet cafe during the day and provides a venue for community groups to meet, as well as being a safe haven for young people wanting to meet up. It was genuinely heartwarming to see all the people who went through the House today and see everybody pitching in and helping out. I would recommend volunteering there to anybody as it’s a great way to get involved in the community, and a really good laugh too with some really canny people.
Another great idea from PACT House is extending their Community Meal to Christmas Day, they will be open from 1.00pm for Christmas Dinner followed by a Christmas Film and then quiz. If you’d like to find out more about the variety of projects carried out by the volunteers at PACT House you can visit their facebook page at: www.facebook.com/pacthousestanley