The quietest night for a while this week, with only 33 in.
Food went down very well, we had Roasted Vegetable Soup, Spaghetti Bolognese, and Tuna Pasta, and for a nice change we had Pancakes, as it was Shrove Tuesday this week. Many of the clients were very excited about the pancakes; they came with a choice of bananas, syrup or lemon and sugar.
The kitchen staff always work so hard in the kitchen, initially it is very intense as people are very hungry when they come in. The space is quite small for three people to work in, but they have worked out a system and everyone works really well together.
Every week we face new challenges and sometimes have to think on our feet and very quickly. Events can happen at the same time so it means working at a team and delegating the most appropriate volunteer to certain situations. Every client is different and has different needs, health and physical issues along with the potential of added addictions so we must always be mindful of that when dealing with any situation.
Our Clients Challenges And How We Help
One of our clients was being inappropriate this week to another person. It can be difficult when we have to challenge inappropriate behaviour as we have to be careful in a way not escalate a situation. Mental health can cause a person to react different and unpredictability. This behaviour was unsettling someone else who could also react in an aggressive unpredictable manner therefore we had to stop it quickly and in a low-key manner. We managed to do this but it is something we need to monitor, as we fear this situation is escalating. Having volunteers that come every week works very well, we can monitor and follow situations so every session so we can be more prepared.
One of our clients had a panic attack this week. The hall can become very noisy, especially in the first hour and also very busy. Some people find it very difficult to cope with. We took the person outside and one of the volunteers found a lovely thick blanket, as it was cold. Meryl sat with this person calmly talking to them and encouraging slower breathing. When the attacked had started she had a hot chocolate in her hand. We took if off her as a panic attack causes shaking and we didn’t want her to burn herself. Once she calmed down a bit we gave it back to her as it was cold outside and it is a good way to keep someone warm. Eventually we brought her back inside and she even managed to eat a big bowl of Spaghetti Bolognese which was wonderful as she said she had not eaten for a couple of days.
This person is very vulnerable and panic attacks are a regular occurrence. We talked about the advantage of going back to her doctor. This is not the first time this has happened in The Soup Kitchen, we have discussed this also in the past as there are things that can be done to help with these symptoms but as yet she has not done so.
One of our regular rough sleepers came in this week with a terrible cold and feeling pretty miserable. He cheered up hugely through the course of the evening and even had his hair cut and took a shower token. We are able to provide showers, which we have arranged with Northcroft Leisure Centre for people who want them. Newbury’s local laundry The Laundry Basket also provide a free wash and dry so we can give tokens out for that too which is wonderful.
First Aid Training
Meryl and Emma have been in a three-day Red Cross First Aid at work course. It’s the highest First Aid Qualification. They have definitely learned lots, Emma too even with her nursing degree so it has been very worthwhile. They have had a good team of people too to train with. It has been an enjoyable few days. They were trained in working with Defibrillators. We have been thinking about buying a mobile one for the Soup Kitchen for a while and have found the one we have been training on to be very good. It has been decided that it would be a good idea to have one, just in case. We have quite a few of us now trained on CPR so every session we will have qualified First Aiders on shift, with the aim of two per session.
Through the course of the sessions at the Soup Kitchen we have experienced a Heart Attack, Angina and Arrhythmia. Situations like this along with many other things can bring on heart failure. We need to raise money to purchase this Heartsine 500p AED (Automated External Defibrillator) as they cost about £1,100 with replacement pads. Our current project on The Good Exchange is an effective way to raise the funds for this and Match Funding through Greenham Trust £1 for £1 effectively halves the amount we need to raise for it which is wonderful. This will give us all peace of mind. Anyone can use them and they give clear precise instructions on how to use it and monitor your compressions and progress and advise you to improve what you are doing. This can save lives. DONATE HERE.
Peter from Kuehne and Nagel Distributors came in this evening with a big donation of Diet Coke and bottled water; they have been wonderful already in fundraising for us and have chosen us as their charity to fundraise for this year. We are very grateful to everyone who supports us and believes in the work we do and are so compassionate towards our clients.
It has been a busy week for the Soup Kitchen, as many things go in behind the scenes to help us improve what we do and also cement our working practices and us all as a team.