A reminder that homelessness can happen to anyone.

Strange night tonight: A few volunteers commented on the noise level during the first half hour of the session. We had 38 people in which was such a contrast on 52 from last week. 

Jan cooked Moroccan chicken and rice with apricots, Sag Paneer, Potato salad, tomato salad and s green salad, flap jacks. Meryl made a blackberry and apple crumble which we had with custard. 

The evening tailed off quite quickly and we were left with about ten or so people inside and a few stragglers who seemed to come and go throughout the evening. Many were drinking over the other side of the canal due to the warmer weather. This can make the session a little more unpredictable, as people can be a little more argumentative. 

There were a lot of disjointed issues going on all evening, some of which the volunteers had to keep a close eye on. Meryl had a guest visitor this week who stayed the whole session, the Council is working with Mr Howarth from Ridgeway Associates in delivering a new Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy for the district. Ridgeway will be conducting stakeholder consultation on The Councils behalf, and wanted to make contact with organisations to discuss what’s currently working well, and what areas may benefit from improvement. Meryl decided to invite him to the Soup Kitchen so we could all fill him on all “the gaps” as we see it. 

Anyone who comes into the Soup Kitchen must be DBS Enhanced. This is safety for the clients along with the volunteers. If people are not DBS Enhanced we do not allow them on a one to one with a client. Therefore Meryl and other volunteers showed him around and chatted to him freely about the issues we face week on week.

He had not come across this rule in other places he had visited so was very interested in learning more about our Safeguarding procedures and was impressed with our level of care towards safety of everyone. 

Three people came to see the dentist today, which is great. It is good to see that people who need these services are starting to find our about them and use them.

We are always looking into different ways of helping clients. For some Rehab is a way of breaking a cycle of addiction and homelessness. Private Rehab units are up to £6,000 for 28 days. This length of time may work for some if the large amounts of funds are available but the entrenchment of addiction takes a long time to happen and the decision to get clean often takes longer. 

There are free rehab units or units that are paid for by a persons benefits. Once there is a space available a person will be required to have a telephone interview at least and long forms to fill in. 


Some of the units that are free have very strict rules and routines. We have found Betel.uk “Betel is a safe, structured, family-like environment where there is consistent peer-support: during the first few months each resident is assigned a brother- or sister-like mentor. As such, Betel is not a rehabilitation centre or a clinical program with doctors or counsellors, where you receive a medicated detox, but instead it provides an alternative model of recovery” A resident must work and stay 12-18 months. They must give up their benefits and Sovereign type housing if they are not rough sleeping. Having absolutely no money means they are unable to be tempted or exploited with the money for drugs and alcohol. There is a regimented daily routine of work and prayer. This will not work for everyone but for some it can be a lifesaver.

There are other places that work slightly differently as the fees are paid through benefits sct.org.uk still a faith driven charity and up to a 12-month placement, Counselling is provided and it is a slightly less regimented structure. “To help achieve this, they run residential recovery service, personal development and training services for people in recovery alongside a number of social enterprises. Their pioneering approach embodies best-practice around addiction recovery by treating the whole person and their needs”

Sometimes we speak to clients who are at rock bottom.  A crack user who injects and at the end of their tether for instance. Unable to get off the drugs themselves. With drug use it is quite likely that they will end up with a prison sentence. This is another way of getting the care and treatment they can to get clean and obtain qualifications. Some people look forward to the ability to become free of drugs and use the time effectively to gain A’ Levels and degrees. This gives them options when they are released hopefully to start a new life and a better future.  

During the time Newbury Soup Kitchen has been open we have established relationships with people. Trust goes a long way as many people we deal with have no one as family relations are fractured or broken and peers may not always be trustworthy either. 

Volunteering as we do we encourage people to talk and let out emotions.  It can be heart wrenching at times as we know we cannot fix everyone and sort out all their problems but with Outreach and Signposting we do make a difference to many. For some it is a new property, which for a few we have been able to do, down to a sleeping bag and tent to make then feel safer and more comfortable. 

Our Amazon Wishlist either through Amazon Smile (we get commission on every purchase if you set us up as HAVEN (West Berkshire) or Amazon is updated regularly. As the weather is getting colder we will need more donations of items. We do not need hats and gloves at present as we have those left over from last year. 

Items can be purchased, like Amy did, to the Co-Op collection bin at Brummell Road Stores in Speen (by the Starting Gate Pub) or delivered to Newbury Soup Kitchen at the Salvation Arm Hall Northcroft Lane Thursdays 4-5.30pm. 
Amy held a fundraiser over the Summer Holidays by washing cars. She is still fundraising for us so we can purchase more items. Keep up the good work Amy, and thank you.
We are looking for another location in Newbury Town Centre for a collection bin so please get in touch if you are able to help with that


This week we have found a flat for a man who has just become homeless. The flat needs a few items so we are trying to source them for him. 
We are appealing for please:

  • TV stand/cabinet
  • Small coffee table 
  • Two table lamps
  • Chest of draws
  • Bedside cabinet
  • Airer
  • Complete Cutlery set (4 settings)
  • Kitchen bin
  • Single bedding
  • New kettle and toaster (unused)
  • Laundry basket

Please help this man who has had a rough time find comfort and safety in a new property. Contact us through this page please. 

Sue our wonderful Foot Care Specialist was in this evening and worked on two people’s feet, which was great. One client was very pleased with her pedicure as she called it. Sue has connections with the charity forgottenfeet.org   

“Forgotten Feet, set up in 2013, in Worcester, by podiatrist Deborah Monk is a rapidly expanding nationwide charity extending across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and into Scotland. There are many towns covered by Forgotten Feet Clinics, run by Podiatrists and Foot health Practitioners” By setting up clinics in homeless or drop in centres, service users are far more likely to use the service rather than if they had to travel elsewhere. We take a friendly less formal approach, and although primarily set up to alleviate painful foot conditions amongst the homeless, they have an open door policy and encourage as many service users as possible to take up the service” 

We are very happy and privileged to have Sue on our team of volunteers. 


Every Saturday we feed the rough sleepers, homeless and anyone who needs our support. We use our van and park in the Wharf. Colline from Colline’s Kitchen always brings a pasta bake and we provide Pot Noodles, Hot Soup and Teas, coffee, fruit and snacks. We are happy to announce that we have a volunteer, Ali, who picks food up from Greggs and drops it off at the van after they close. Greggs in Newbury are very supportive and this helps use up some of their left over food at the end of the day too. We had 19 people visit the van this week. Pot Noodles can always be dropped off here on a Saturday too.