My name is Barbara and I was a volunteer at the Welcoming Lunch. I hosted the lunch every Friday, welcoming people from all over the world who came together to share food. I have now moved on to different things, and even though I no longer help with the lunch I still go to other Welcoming activities.

Last year The Welcoming partnered with Pret A Manger, who provide free assorted sandwiches and salads, and the Welcoming Lunch was born. Every Friday after our morning classes we get together, eat, listen to music and have interesting conversations.

Like all hosts do, I helped create a special atmosphere where people came together in a relaxed and friendly way, making new connections and making folk feel welcome.

Volunteering at the lunch gave me work experience and helped me get a “flavour” of the Scottish lifestyle. I also met a lot of new people –including MP Joanna Cherry!- and enjoyed the multicultural meals we had together.

I feel the lunch makes a big difference for people who come to The Welcoming. Not only do we share great food, we also get to know each other and make new friends. The Welcoming gives people a chance to integrate better into the life in Scotland, and the lunch is wonderful because it is so relaxed and fun.

To anyone thinking about coming to the lunch I would say “Yes, join us! There is always room and food for everyone.”