Newbury Soup Kitchen has a drop in service to help rough sleepers, homeless and vulnerable in Newbury and West Berkshire set up and run by Meryl Praill and a team of dedicated volunteers.
On a Thursday we open the doors at 6pm after setting up and preparing a three course meal from the food donations we have received that week. The Salvation Army are very kind and let us use their hall and its facilities, which is invaluable to us.
A typical menu is a homemade vegetarian soup, a hearty main meal such as Shepherds Pie, Lasagne, a pasta or rice dish with a dessert of crumble or bread and butter pudding or anything that can be produced from the huge variety of donations we receive from local companies and supermarkets including Waitrose, Tesco and Marks and Spencer. All kitchen staff are trained with Food Hygiene level 2 and volunteers have to have a DBS Enhanced check.
We have also set up a facility on a Saturday afternoon in the Wharf for two hours, for rough sleepers to come and get something hot to eat. This comprises of Soup, Pot Noodles tea and coffee. Now all rough sleepers and homeless in the town can access a free meal every day of the week.
Meryl has set up a charity called HAVEN (West Berkshire) charity number 1179298. With the charities trustees and the continued support from Greenham Trust, The Soup Kitchen is expanding and working toward opening a Community Support Centre in the town to provide outreach and support to the homeless and vulnerable in the area. Working closely with many Statutory organisations and local charities, the centre will provide a broad spectrum of outreach to care for the whole person, physically, emotionally and socially. Spending time with people who need support, encouragement and empathy to help them to reach their full potential in every aspect of their lives. Working to give vulnerable people in our society a voice. This will help them grow in confidence and enable them to make better life decisions, improve their situation and future.
We have been invited by Greenham Trust to set up a project on The Good Exchange to work towards our goal. We are currently looking for a suitable building in the town to accommodate our services.
You can find our project on www.thegoodexchange.com. Search for our individual reference number 14652 or Newbury Soup Kitchen. You can donate to The Good Exchange also via our website newburysoupkitchen.org.uk.
Greenham Trust are match-funding £1 for every £1 donated up to £5,000. Donate HERE.
Meryl says “Thank you to everyone who has helped and contributed during our second year journey. I have been overwhelmed by the generosity and support by people who were once strangers. We have met sceptics along the way, but I see our Soup Kitchen and the bit of outreach that we provide to be nothing but positive. All the Soup Kitchen Volunteers are fantastic. All have jelled into such a strong working and caring team. Everyone has a different strength that compliments what we try to do. The positive feedback by our clients is wonderful to hear and cements our efforts. Roll on our third year.”
We appreciate all donations and the support and kindness that the local community have shown towards Newbury Soup Kitchen and the work we are doing. Our website offers an insight of everything we do and the help we need.