We had 37 people through the door this week. One of our more quieter sessions but often we find when the weather is a bit warmer people are in higher spirits and cope better with life. For many, everything seems easier to cope with when the sun is shining.
The food was a big hit, Jan made roast parsnip soup, pork casserole with mash, potato salad and a paneer spinach curry for a few vegetarian clients that we have. Meryl cooked a lemon pudding, which came with custard. Jan and Meryl work out the menu each week from food that has come in from the supermarkets. They enjoy working out a healthy menu and do their best to use as much as they can. Any food left over we donate further to Newbury Foodbank, Mencap and Two Saints. It is great to see other vulnerable people benefit from the ambient food we get.
We have talked about Berkshire Women’s Aid and other wonderful organisations that cater and look after women who are at risk of harm, domestic abuse, exploitation and/or homelessness.
There is nothing locally however for men in the same situation. We occasionally meet men who open up and tell us their stories about abusive relationships that involve aggression and violence.
A third of domestic abuse victims were men, approximately only 1% of refuge beds in England are reserved for men. One of our clients mentioned having to restrain their partner to stop the violence but was scared at the same time that that act itself would hurt her. Another client was accused of hurting their female partner when using self-defence to protect himself. The assumption is often automatically against the man. As a society we are becoming more aware and not being so quick to make judgements but we have to work harder.
While one in six men will experience domestic abuse at some point in their lives, only one in 20 will ever seek any help. While more victims were beginning to come forward, a failure to ensure a basic level of support across the country will fail those men and, of course, fail their children where they are involved. We have met many men through our work in the Soup Kitchen that feel deserted by the system.
Men are more likely to be homeless, more likely to attempt suicide, more likely to have an addiction such as alcohol or gambling, suffer from heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure to name a few. They often feel so alone and desperate with little or no support. Men are less likely to admit they have a problem and want to talk to a professional or charity member. We do our best to gain the trust of men who come into our sessions so they feel they can reach out and have someone to talk to and hopefully get some help and support.
ID and Our Current Donation Wishlist
At last and after three attempts we received photographic ID for one of our clients. He has not had ID for 15 years. It is heartbreaking and humbling to hear someone say that they “Now feel human, a real person, someone normal”
Donations from the local community help pay for ID for vulnerable people who need it. We are always grateful for all the donations we receive.
Greenham Trust are still Match Funding £1 for £1 any donation we receive on The Good Exchange platform. http://app.thegoodexchange.com/project/14652/
People who are rough sleeping and sofa surfing find it easier and more practical to wear tracksuit bottoms, as often they have to sleep in them too.
We have updated our Amazon Wish list with some new items. Lycra boxer shorts, jogging bottoms plus plastic cutlery and biodegradable plates. Items can be purchased via our Amazon Wishlist or delivered to the Salvation Army hall on a Thursday from 3.30pm-5.30pm. The Salvation Army shop will also take small donations in on our behalf too.
The HOLT (Health Outreach Liaison Team) nurses team start next Thursday at 4pm at The Soup Kitchen. We are opening earlier for the nurses and the Community dental team who are also coming in on alternate weeks. We hope that people who are unable or who find it difficult to access these services can come and see us.