The session this week was uneasy, and it felt uncomfortable. There was too much going on at one time; a session where we had to have eyes everywhere.
We are still looking for a First Aid Volunteer with lots of experience.
We were six volunteers down tonight; unfortunately a few last minute cancellations so we were unable to get extra cover. We managed, however, there were a lot of issues going on at once but the volunteers rallied around to make sure every area of the hall and outside where covered. As a team we all worked together supporting each other dealing with every situation that arose. Meryl says that sometimes she looks around and quietly panics a bit about the enormity of what has been created and how much more complex sessions can be. The responsibility can be huge at times to ensure safety, pre-empting situations and to make the session enjoyable, supportive and event free as possible.
Occasionally people come in to The Soup Kitchen in crisis. We have volunteers who will sit down with that person and try to calm and deescalate a situation. Sometimes however this is difficult to do and we have to signpost or contact the Safeguarding and CRISIS team. Tonight a client came in very drunk, extremely emotional and desperate. It is alarming when people come to us if they have been self harming and suicidal. We always err on the side of caution. Talking and listening we can establish facts they can be concerning about a persons safety to themselves or others and their vulnerability at that time.
In this instance it was thought necessary to contact the police and CRISIS team. Eventually an ambulance came and as the police had informed the paramedics of their concerns with this persons immediate safety. When someone has been drinking mental health and capacity cannot be assessed properly so this person was taken to hospital.
It is sometimes difficult to deal with people and their behaviour but it is wonderful to see how the team rally together. Their kindness and concern always shines through, it does not take much to make a real difference to a person. Just sitting with someone, offering support and allowing them to talk, cry and eat a good meal. We do this in a non-judgemental manner, which does help. Some people who come into see us have no family or a person they feel they can trust so it helps people to be able to talk to someone.
People who inject drugs can develop infections. Medical consequences of chronic injection use include scarred and/or collapsed veins, bacterial infections of the blood vessels and heart valves, abscesses (boils), and other soft-tissue infections. Street heroin may include substances that do not readily dissolve and result in clogging the blood vessels that lead to the lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain. This week a person came in with an open wound, which our first aider dressed. It potentially was an injection site that was troublesome. As first aiders we must always be very careful and wear gloves and plastic aprons. He was advised to go and see a doctor.
Sue our wonderful Foot care specialist came in and sorted out three people’s feet. One of the ladies was very happy and said she was going to go away and paint her nails. Offering this service is invaluable and some people really do suffer with pain and discomfort. As clients get to know volunteers they become more relaxed in our care and trust the outreach volunteers and staff who come in to help.
It is interesting sometimes when we realise that our regular clients become almost protective of us. One of the men came over to Meryl this week angry that he had witnessed he felt someone being disrespectful to a colleague. We had to explain to him that he does not need to fight our battles and that he potentially could cause a bigger issue by defending us. He was adamant that he was not having it. He seems to have become the father hen, he thinks he needs to keep order and look out for the volunteers. We distracted him and took him out of the hall into the sunshine to diffuse a potential situation.
We had 43 people in this evening. We cooked a Jamie Oliver meatloaf from his Friday Night suppers range. Before & After to the right!
Also we provided macaroni cheeses and big dish of vegetables. We made a potato salad with eggs and hot dogs so there was a lot of choice. For dessert we had lemon ice cream, citrus sponge pudding with a fresh fruit salad.
The Community Dental Team is going to come to the Soup Kitchen session 6-8pm next week, and chat to the clients about their services and to build a bit of reassurance and trust. So many clients have teeth issues, which need attention. Dental care for some is a terrifying prospect so if we can help elevate some of those emotions we will do that. The Community Dental Team come to The Soup Kitchen at 4pm on alternate weeks, alternating with the HOLT nurses (Health Outreach Liaison Team). It is important to signpost people to these services so vulnerable people know these services exist.
We are appealing for boxer shorts, medium and large and Pot Noodles. We have both on our Amazon Wish List or they can be dropped off at The Salvation Army Hall on a Thursday 3-5.30pm. We have a collection point at The Co-Op store on Brummell Road Speen, on the A4 by the Starting Gate Pub. We have no boxer shorts to give out and our Pot Noodle Stocks are running very low. Thank you.