Donations Received, Monies Raised, TV Appearance And Pet Help

Subsequent to winning the Best in Business Awards Charity and Non Profit Award the other week, the Newbury Soup Kitchen was back on TV this week. Meryl and some of the Kitchen homeless and rough sleeping clients speak candidly with Ali Monjack of That’s TV Thames Valley.

A Busy Session

A very busy session this evening with 47 clients welcomed through the door. Lots of faces we hadn’t seen for a while. We couldn’t believe how many people came in considering SWEP is activated now, so it must be the food and good company from the volunteers! 🙂

On The Menu Tonight

Jan was away improving her culinary skills in Cornwall (I hope we all benefit), so we did a relatively simple meal of sausages, mash, onions, onion gravy and peas with fruit pie and custard. Often “comfort food” goes down the best. Many people had seconds and thirds.

We are aware that some of our clients are vegetarian or pescatarian. Some of them do not like “artificially grown” substitutes, but will eat soya. We try to make sure we have soya items in the freezer together with gluten and lactose free foods too. It is difficult to cater as we never know who is coming in. We can offer jacket potatoes most weeks with an appropriate topping. The kitchen staff work so hard, it can be quite stressful and busy at times, especially when everyone is cueing at the beginning of the session.

Also after the MEAM meeting this week, it was decided that some of the rough sleepers who find it difficult to come into the Soup Kitchen for an array of reasons (and are in the High Street for example), that we will go out and take them a plate of food. Indeed, if they have a dog, we will take a tin of dog food too.

Dog And Cat Food

We do not receive a lot of dog and cat food, but we do try to cater for rough sleepers pets as well. The Hope Project through the Dogs Trust and the RSPCA will both help animals belonging to homeless people whether they are rough sleeping or homeless. Many dogs have been set up on this scheme through the Soup Kitchen.

On The Subject Of Dogs

One of our lovely chaps that we have helped before came in with his beautiful Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Meryl helped find a vet to have his last dog put down and pay for a cremation for him. We have arranged a Dogs Trust Hope Project card for his new dog. His beautiful little Staffie was forced to have many litters by the previous owner. She is very needy and insecure, our client adores the dog and wants to get her checked over. Animals can be for some the only family they have, so it is important that we keep them safe and healthy too. Two Saints are so full of people with dogs they cannot take Wayfarers with dogs. Wayfarers are people who are given a bed and meal, but do not stay during the day and do not pay rent. This is to get people out of the cold through the winter months. Even though there are options that can be sorted for accommodation for the dog, the rough sleepers understandably do not want to be separated from their pets.

Continued Illnesses

We have ongoing issues with a client who is very ill. It is very hard to get some people to a doctor. There are plans hopefully to get a doctor out to him. Some illness or conditions that are not treated regularly can be very worrying and eventually be catastrophic. In the mean time, trying to support a person you see physically deteriorating each week is very upsetting. The charities who deal with him weekly and the organisations put in place in the statutory sectors are working hard to get him help. But it’s still upsetting.

One of our rough sleepers has a very bad back again. He was asking for pain killers which we cannot give him. We have advised he goes to the doctors immediately. He said she has three mattresses plus sleeping bags and sheets. He sounds like The Princess and the Pea! He said his bed was comfortable at least. It’s a shame that it is impossible for people like him to access anything in the way of osteopath or chiropractic help. We have known this man a long time now. It’s horrible to see him in pain.

Hair Cuts

Kate came in and cut hair for eight people this week. She said mainly women which is unusual. Kate’s experience with hairdressing and working with rough sleepers and vulnerable people makes her compassionate, flexible and wonderful. So much so that she even cuts hair of people if they fall asleep!

Charmaine's Hair and Beauty

You will have read in previous news that Charmaine’s Hair and Beauty on Hambridge Road hosted a Christmas Shopping event last Friday 9th November.

Thanking all those who supported and attended the event, Charmaine announced on her Facebook page that some £440.00 was raised during the evening but would like to achieve £500.00. Charmaine said:

We are still running guess how many sweets in the jar and name a teddy bear in the salon. We still have Crimbo things for sale, Christmas cards and everyday cards (just been donated) for sale 10 for £10.00 or £1.50 each.

Further, Charmaine has also announced that she is happy to accept product donations on behalf of the Soup Kitchen during the salon opening hours. Please read our FAQ page for her address details.

Words Of Thanks

We are still in desperate need of jogging bottoms and head torches. Click on the above image and head over to our Christmas List if you can help.

Lakeland contacted us this week and Meryl was invited to meet the store manager. They have offered us £500 to buy a piece of electrical equipment to use in the kitchen to cook, together with chocolate and novelty Christmas table games for our Christmas party. On top of that they gave us some excess stock that they had of which we can use in the kitchen. Jan our kitchen manager is going in next week to choose what she wants. Thank you to Lakeland and their support and generosity.

Tracey from Natures Corner and her husband came in with loads of stuff. They were on our table at the award ceremony recently at the racecourse. She said she was touched by Meryl’s speech and our award. They bought in jogging bottoms and practical items for our rough sleepers. They will support us further which is very kind of them.

Money Donations

We are overwhelmed by the response from the local community towards the Soup Kitchen and our announcement that we are hoping to expand. We plan to obtain a dedicated building and we have setup a charity this year to move this this objective forward and grow Newbury Soup Kitchen within it. Your generosity towards the rough sleepers, homeless and vulnerable in Newbury and West Berkshire benefit from everything you do.

We are now able to accept money donations and are in the process of setting up processes to do so. In the interim, donations of money can be made in cash or cheque (made payable to “Haven (West Berkshire)”) or via bank transfer to our Metrobank account: