Considering the rain today we actually had quite a few people in tonight, 32 in total.
Most of our regular clients are choosing not to come in now they are in accommodation however a few still are they enjoy the social side and also helping us too. Eventually, some may become mentors or volunteers.
Jan cooked turkey, leek and ham pie which went down very well. I have had requests for Lasagne again. That definitely seems to be the favourite.
FOOD PICKUP VOLUNTEER NEEDED
Our regular volunteer who picks up the Greggs food from the A4 every week at 5.30pm for us on the A4 has to stop. Next week is her last week. We will need to find someone on a long-term temp basis to replace her. She has been fantastic so will be missed.
One client came in angry and frustrated as his benefits have been changed and some stopped as he is now in a property. One week he was told everything was fine and now sorted, then he was told he was in arrears and he owed money, then after that, his benefits were stopped. Now he has rent to pay and arrears from an overpayment he didn’t know he had and no money to help pay it off. He is too physically unwell to work due to massive physical trauma. This does not help a person’s mental health. He has an advocacy to help him so hopefully, it can be sorted out. In the meantime he is without any money. He said that it is easier to be in a tent! Which is a shocking statement.
NO COOKER, FRIDGE OR WASHING MACHINE
One of our quiet regulars came in this evening. We sat and talked to him he has not long come out of prison and now off his tag. His benefits stopped and now he is on universal credit which is giving him way less money. He has a little bungalow but has no cooker, fridge freezer or washing machine. He is putting his food outside to keep cold. I was talking to him and he just burst into tears. He was inconsolable for a bit. We said I would help him.
One of our volunteers knows someone nearby who hopefully is going to meet him over the weekend for a walk and feed him. He has Aspergers so struggling. He is a quiet man who just wants to move on with his life. He is very sad. It was heart-wrenching.
NEW TO THE AREA
Two of us went out after the session to find a lad who is new to the area. He is in his early 20’s. He did come into the Soup Kitchen very early a couple of weeks ago. He has no family here. He’s is too scared to come into the Soup Kitchen when it is open, he does not want to mix with other homeless people as he is so frightened, sadly, I know they would look after him. I expect he may try to come in early next week. If that is the case we will have to give him something to take away. We gave him a better tent, sleeping bags, torch and a few bits.
MOVING ONWARDS AND UPWARDS
One of our original clients who has come on enormously since we first met him last year when he was homeless has a venture that he wants to get off the ground.
He would like to set up a gardening group and to find an allotment or piece of free land that he and other Soup Kitchen clients can work, perhaps with experienced retired gardeners to produce fresh produce to use themselves to save money and perhaps to help support Loose Ends and Soup Kitchen with vegetables.
Our lovely ex-homeless man who does all our graphics will do a logo for him and I hope we have someone if necessary can help with a website. He needs an allotment or land, support and advice ongoing. We at the Soup Kitchen will do what we can to help him.
It would be wonderful to get a group of vulnerable people and lonely retired experienced gardeners people together to give advice and support.
It is so lovely to see people who were so sad and had given up on life now positive and working hard to improve their future.
GRAPHIC DESIGN WORK
Our graphic designer chap is looking for small design workpieces as he is ready to start again. He is extremely talented and excited about getting his life on track again.
Watching a relatively new client who is homeless playing chess this evening and he’s really good too, was so nice to see. That is something we will encourage him to do each week. Another group sitting doing the crossword. The Soup Kitchen has become such a wonderful social club for many.
A GROWING TEAM OF VOLUNTEERS
There is quite a team of people behind the scenes now working hard with specific jobs. I have a man who will look over and if necessary fix bikes for us someone who will fix laptops and someone who will try to source furniture and white goods, they need to be safe and kitemarked or relatively new so they can be checked by an electrician so they are deemed safe. Still looking for someone to do that for us.
HELPING US TO STAY OPEN
Last year we had to close for the Salvation Army Maundy service. Now we are so busy and well established we were allowed to stay open. The Methodist Church in town invited the Salvation Army to their service which we gather was a success.
As a result, we fed 32 people who otherwise would have gone without a meal this week. Thank you The Salvation Army and Methodist church for organising alternative arrangements.
Roger is a lovely man who over the last six months or so, each month, buys something off our wish list. He wanted to do something for Easter so he came in with 60 hot cross buns. They went down very well with everyone, clients and volunteers alike.