Advocacy, Support and Accommodation

We had 39 people in this evening. Similar to last week there was a mad rush in the first ten minutes of about 25 people coming in. 

We had had a few volunteers pull out through illness tonight but we were actually ok with the numbers of we had. There were only two people in the kitchen but they managed and everyone was happy and patient to wait a little longer while Sandra and Jan served food. 

This week it was Fish Pie, which looked amazing, one with eggs and one without. Carrot and cumin soup, Saag Paneer (Vegetarian) Potato Salad, Tomato Salad, and finally Apple and Roasted Maple Peach Crumble with Custard.

The atmosphere was good this evening, there were a few new faces and some people we have worked with before back in the area and facing the prospect of going back into a tent. Sometimes people who are rough sleeping or sofa surfing will leave the area hoping for a better future or opportunities. Occasionally this works but unfortunately for many this does not. The same problem occurs that people on benefits such as Universal Credit will not be openly accepted as potential tenants by landlords.  People often live chaotic lives so they struggle to find work or hold one down. 

Saving for deposits and a first months rent is always difficult especially if not working. It is also very hard to hold down a job when living in a tent, it can be done and we have seen it but it can be incredibly challenging.
The prospect of knowing you are going into a tent to live is a terrifying one, especially with the Winter months looming. We can help with the practical items, which are kindly donated by the public, but nevertheless the feelings of vulnerability are enormous. Be no mistake, not all people who live in tents have addictions, and some just do not have the money to get onto that first step on the ladder. The Council do provide a “Deposit Scheme” but this is not offered to everybody and still a person has to find a Landlord willing to take them on as tenants. 

Society does not like seeing people in tents. The emotive subject of putting Eviction Notices or Notice to Vacate notices on tents so a rough sleeper has to take their home down and move somewhere else is difficult. Some people for whatever reason cannot or will not go to Hostels or other similar facilities due to fear, perception, bullying, fear of intimidation or mental health. Therefore what do people do and where do they go? The tents just have to be put up again somewhere else. This however unsettles a person further and causes more anxiety and stress. 

Unfortunately we see this all the time. Rough sleepers come to us tearful, angry and frightened of the uncertainty of their predicament. It is very distressing to witness as we get to know our clients and to see them with this added anxiety is difficult. 


The HOLT nurse was in today and had a couple of clients come in to see her. We will be moving this service to Wednesdays from 6th November so they will be available every week 2-4pm instead of bi-weekly.  This will be again held at the Salvation Army Hall.

This service is proving to be invaluable. A client needed an Emergency appointment, which the nurse could arrange. This service is vital and we are so pleased to expand it further. We will have a Outreach Nurse and Mental Health Nurse every week. We hope to be collaborating with services and with the support of volunteers providing an Advocacy service. We will not be providing food as it is not the Soup Kitchen, this will be support and advice only with Tea and Coffee.

A client came in who has managed to set up a rehab placement themselves. We have organised similar and it is very intensive. We are so pleased when a person realises that the time has come to make efforts to get clean and talk so openly about their addiction, their dreams and that they are fed up with the lives they are living is empowering. When people are using drugs they are often a closed book. Once in rehab a person is given counselling, sessions in AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and NA (Narcotics Anonymous). Emotions start to come out and like peeling the skin off an onion; layers come off slowly one by one.

Sitting recently in a rehabilitation centre and talking to people who are in rehab at present is so amazing to listen to, honest candid stories and truths about ones addiction and past lives. Rehab encourages complete honesty. Sometimes this is the first time a person has been honest with people let alone honest with themselves.

We talked to people who have had severe drug addictions for 20-30 years to younger people at the start of their addiction. It was fascinating, however upsetting to listen to their life stores and the reason they have ended up in rehab. To know a person fully is to listen, be non-judgemental and give time and compassion. We all have baggage. Some of us are lucky enough not to have the experiences that many people have had to endure. Residential Rehabilitation is s huge commitment for someone to endure but successful outcomes will change a person’s future.

Amy came in this afternoon to help set up. Amy has collected £285 that we have had in dribs and drabs over the last two months as and when she has raised it. She has washed cars, run at the Step up good event at the Racecourse and made cakes to sell. Her dad Dan was with her and ended up being hugely impressed and shocked at all the work that goes into the session and the enormous amount of food that is donated, especially bread. He also didn’t realise all the Outreach we provide outside a Thursday and Saturday too. We hope Amy learned a lot and can go back to her school and talk to the other children and educate them a little.

Below is our Christmas shopping list of donations that we require in order to support our clients. 
Please contact us first should you want to donate other than through our Amazon wish list. Also Amazon Smile gives us 0.5% Commission on every order. We have limited storage so unfortunately have to be selective on what we can take in.

The volunteers have had a busy week this week. Some of us have completed the MENTAL CAPACITY ACT Level 2 course.
Our courses help providers and their staff to develop an understanding of the responsibilities and duties around the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA). This essential training is for workers involved in the care, treatment and support of adults who may lack capacity in making life decisions.

This week also we attended a Suicide Prevention training. We unfortunately do get clients who come in feeling suicidal. We learned how to work with them, listen, support and importantly try to help a person at this crisis point. It is also important to help eradicate the stigma of suicide.

A suicidal person may not ask for help, but that doesn’t mean that help isn’t wanted. Most people who attempt to take their lives don’t want to die they just want to stop hurting.

Mental health statistics:
Suicide and self-harm are not mental health problems themselves, but they are linked with mental distress.
At 11th September 2019

  • In the UK in 2018, there were 6,507deaths by suicide (a rate of 11.2 deaths per 100,000 people).1
  • Rates vary across the nations of Great Britain, withthe highest rate in 2018 observed in Scotland (16.1 deaths per 100,000 people), followed by Wales (12.8 deaths per 100,000 people) and England (10.3 deaths per 100,000 people).1
  • Overall, men accounted for three-quartersof UK deaths by suicide in 2018.
  • The most common means of suicide in men is hanging. 

 The Suicide Act 1961 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It decriminalised the act of suicide in England and Wales so that those who failed in the attempt to kill themselves would no longer be prosecuted. In the past it was a criminal offence Hence the word COMMIT suicide, like committing an offence. 

Training is important when working with vulnerable adults. We try to provide as much exposure to relevant courses as we can. They are all very educational and informative even though sometimes distressing. 

Newbury Soup Kitchen is now back on Just Giving, under our Charity Group Haven (West Berkshire): CLICK HERE

Our Amazon Wishlist can be found HERE

Donations can be dropped off at the Salvation Army on a Thursday afternoon, or at Co Op (starting gate car park) where we have a drop off point for donations.