Bistro Assistant - Lewis Newstead

Lewis Newstead has been employed as a Bistro Assistant at Belong Macclesfield for four years, and is a familiar face to everyone in the village. Chatting to customers and knowing that he's making a difference are the things that drive Lewis on, whether he's making members of the public feel welcome in the village or making sure that nobody in the households misses their Sunday roast.

Lewis told Belong Life: "Generally in the Bistro there are two different shifts that I work, either an early start, from 8am until 2:30pm, or later, from 11am until 6:30pm. These work out so that there are always enough people in the kitchens. When I come in for an early start, the first things I do will be to set up the chilled drinks at the counter and set up all the tables to prepare for our first customers."

"The next thing that I do is fill the shopping lists sent to me by the households. There are six households in Belong Macclesfield and every morning they send a list of food that they want to order for the day, things like bread and milk, enough for breakfast, supper and any snacks in between. I'll fill their baskets and then call someone on the household to come and collect the shopping."

"After the shopping lists have been fulfilled, it's time to set up trolleys for the lunch and evening meals in the households. What we do in the Bistro depends on the meals for the day, but we'll either prepare a trolley with the ingredients for the households to cook their own food, or sometimes we might cook say a lamb joint in the kitchen and then send it up to the households to finish."

"Once the trolleys have gone out, and the main meals for the households set, I normally concentrate on jobs that need doing in the kitchen, and of course the customers in the Bistro. If things are quiet I'll wash dishes and clean, but because I work on the counter, a lot of my time will be helping the customers that come in."

"People that live in the Belong apartments often like to use the Bistro. Sometimes they'll come down for lunch, or even just order food to take back to their apartments. Because the same people come in regularly, I get to know all their names, and they know mine. It's great, definitely the best part of the job. It doesn't matter what we talk about, I enjoy the conversation and sometimes you just want somebody to chat to."

"Outside of Belong, I'm doing a Foundation degree in Sport at Macclesfield College. Usually I study on Mondays and Tuesdays and then work in the village Wednesday to Sunday. It's a three-year course and I really enjoy working at Belong alongside it. Eventually I hope to put my sporting knowledge to good use, I'd like to coach tennis or maybe be a PE teacher. I'm very happy where I am right now, so hopefully you'll be seeing me around Belong Macclesfield for a while yet."