Coop News and Collection Volunteer Needed

We welcomed 43 clients in tonight so with our volunteers it was a busy night. Bizarrely, we ran out of chairs this evening for people to sit on.

Food Collection Volunteer Needed

Most of our volunteers come after work so picking up food has to be worked out very carefully to ensure we have the manpower to manage it. Now some collection timings have changed, it was panic at 5.30pm as we had to find a way of picking up food from two different locations at the same time with limited volunteers. We managed it, but we will need to find someone to volunteer to pick up one of the food donations every Thursday at 5.30pm from the high street.

If you or you know someone who can help collect food donations from either Pret A Manger or Greggs on the High Street each and every Thursday at 5.30pm on the dot, please do get in touch. Full details are on our Volunteers page.


It was busy, busy, busy tonight, but we had aa couple of birthdays so “Happy Birthday” was sung. Meryl, the founder of the Soup Kitchen thought she had got away with it but no. Everyone sang, stood up and cheered which was lovely to see. She was also asked to make a speech.

Petty Squabbles

We had rumblings and a disagreement tonight between a small group. In these situations emotions are always heightened and tempers can bubble over very quickly. Luckily due to the recent training from our Inspector at Newbury Police Station and the PCSOs who were already on site, it was dispersed and dealt with swiftly. Sue and Phil are wonderful PCSOs and always come in when they are on shift. They sit with the clients to have a cup of tea and a chat. They have an amazing relationship with everyone and it seems they have built up a huge amount of respect from the clients.

Another New Job Confirmation

Tonight one of our chaps had confirmation of a job, the email came in when the Soup Kitchen was open. He was so pleased, it is lovely to see the local business community reaching out a hand of support to help our clients. They are a great bunch of people who just need someone to give them a chance.

One of our boys would love the opportunity to do some outside landscape gardening work, fences etc. He was explaining how much he enjoyed working outside. He has come on so much in the last year.

West Berkshire Elevate

West Berkshire Elevate programme came in to see us. They will work with 18 to 24 year olds with work, training etc. They are going to work with some of our younger ones to help them on their way into work. It will be a great partnership for us.

Kitchen Menu

Jan cooked a lovely Cottage pie this evening alongside all the other things on the menu it was a real feast. It was busy though so the food went quickly.


We had a donation of five sleeping bags from two very nice men from Newbury Christadelphians church. We discussed that the need once the night shelter closes at the end of this month will go up again for sleeping bags and tents so they said they would continue to support us. They were amazed how busy we were.


Every week we are reminded how lucky we all are and how difficult life can be for rough sleepers. A small act of kindness goes a long way. The homeless community are strong and support each other. Sharing a tent because someone’s has been slashed. Supporting each other when is all gets too much. We see acts of kindness all around the Soup kitchen. Homeless, rough sleepers, vulnerable and volunteers all under one roof drinking tea, laughing, playing games, listening, respecting each other you can’t get much better than that!

In Other News

We are delighted to learn that the under the Southern Coop’s ‘Love Your Neighbourhood’ programme, they will extend their partnership with the Newbury Soup Kitchen until January 2019. Meryl Praill, Founder of the Newbury Soup Kitchen says:

“We value the relationship and support we have enjoyed with the Southern Coop this year. We have a close relationship with the branch at 75 Brummell Road and have been invited to fundraise with them at Halloween and Christmas. They have been especially helpful and we welcome the public food donations from their in-store donation basket. We look forward to furthering the relationship over the next year.”