Unusually quiet this week, we gave out 20 meals to approximately 16 people. This is the quietest night we have had for a very long time. It seems the jungle drums from last week about pizza worked. This week there wasn’t quite the excitement. A few clients took food to other people which is happening more and more. They are usually for people who have mobility problems, to come out now the weather is getting cold is problematic for some.
Now the confirmed cases of COVID are increasing we are tightening up our volunteer ‘Bubbles’ which will probably be two teams mainly alternating. Should any of the volunteers become unwell with COVID it could wipe out most of the volunteers in one go. This is a huge consideration; we would have to go into self-isolation as a result reducing our numbers to a level that may be considered as concerning. We are working more than ever so everyone knows all the different roles and responsibilities to avoid a break in food provision to the people that need our support.
We have been in our new unit (HQ) since May which was in the middle of lockdown. Now our commercial kitchen is going in. Planning has been applied for and granted. We have done the research and sourced help and support along the way.
NEWBURY ELECTRICAL SERVICES have come to our aid. It was a lovely sight to see all the vans lined up outside our unit. They work in a bubble as some are related and partners so it was carefully organised. Newbury Soup Kitchen volunteers wore masks and kept at least 2m distance but on the whole let them just get on with their fabulous work. The staff from NEWBURY ELECTRICAL SERVICES came in very early Saturday morning, a wonderful team
This local company have given their time and have installed all of the electrics completely free of charge!
We would also like to thank Kew Electrical and Electric Centre who have donated the parts for the job. Newbury Soup Kitchen are so humbled by their generosity and kindness. We are so excited to see that we are closer to our goal of a fabulous kitchen. Somewhere for our volunteers to work from together at any time they need to.
We have had a busy week. Harvest Festival is always a good time of the year for us and other charities such as The Foodbank who rely so heavily on food donations from the public.
Mary Hare Primary School Pupils have been supporting The Newbury Soup Kitchen this this autumn. Children and staff collected a range of foods and dried produce at its recent harvest festival.
Maple class children delivered the donations and were given a tour of the storerooms and the fantastic new kitchen.
The children asked lots of sensible and sensitive questions and we talked at length about the plight of people living in the streets. Education about homelessness is important and to be able to help the younger generation with this is in our opinion paramount.
We talked about the importance of ‘Being kind’. The children went back to school to act out some role play activities using the knowledge they had gained from their visit.
During our Thursday session this week we provided Sausages and Mash with gravy and apple crumble with custard.
Due to the Pandemic we have to serve all meals on a Takeaway Basis. It is a shame we are unable to have people sit down and eat socially distancing. Due to the nature of our work it would be sometimes difficult for some of our clients to socially distance or observe the COVID recommendations. Therefore, it is safer for all that we stay outside. We are not looking forward to the winter months, but we reckon that it is a small price to pay to feed rough sleepers and other people who live outside every day.
Sally comes in every week to organise all the deep cleaning and to check we all undertake our rostered duties. She is so happy to be back after 16 weeks of lockdown. During that time one of our volunteers did a weekly shop for her and checked in on her. Sally is such an important part of the Soup Kitchen. The clients love her and always look after her (especially after her new hip)!
It is lovely to have her back; the sessions are so important to her and she comes every week without fail.
We have updated our Amazon Wishlist https://amzn.to/2fYwyJz which has items that we use every week for the sessions and also items such as tents and sleeping bags that will help support rough sleepers throughout the winter. With items such as this we are also able to support the council and hostel outreach workers who can come to our new unit and help themselves to anything they need for vulnerable people we all work with. Collaboration is key and now we have storage and facilities in one place we can do this more effectively. Your donations matter and make a difference to people’s lives.
Our project on The Good Exchange is an easy way to donate https://app.thegoodexchange.com/project/18016 on this also you can read up about us a bit more.
Facebook has a donation button which is at the top of this link and you can reach our Just Giving donation page here. http://www.justgiving.com/haven-westberkshire
We are unsure why the donation button has turned from Pounds £ to Dollars $ but we can assure you that the money will reach us directly. We are looking into it.
We appreciate your patience with us too, especially from the noise and sometimes incidents that occur on a Thursday in Northcroft Lane during the sessions. We will work with our clients to keep these to a minimum. This support is vital to so many who are lost, alone and suffer so much every day. It is a privilege to be able to help them in some way.
We have been bowled over this week by the unbelievable kindness that NEWBURY ELECTRICAL SERVICES have shown towards us. They worked for over eight hours to install all the lights, wiring plus a three-phase supply, a new electricity meter, sockets and fuse box. We are truly overwhelmed. Thank you guys.
We are struggling to find a plumber if anyone is out there to help us. Thank you.