What a beautiful day! The temperature affected the numbers this week. We had 26 clients in which is one of our quietest weeks. Nevertheless no less challenging.
Today we had jacket potatoes with beans or chilli and apple crumble and custard. We catered for forty so had loads of food left over. Mencap had a couple of deliveries from us and the remaining was delivered to Two Saints.
We had more food from Greggs and Prett this week than we have for a while. Macdonalds has been closed for refurbishment so people have been going to other places for food so our donations have been lower recently. These two companies are so incredibly generous each week.
Struggles With Alcohol
You may remember that two weeks ago one of our regular clients came in with a can of 8% cider in his pocket and very drunk, he was a handful. Last week he came in sober with no recollection of the week before. Mai-Britt has warned him he cannot come in when he has been drinking and will be banned if he misbehaves. Anyway he turned up this week, really really drunk! We decided not to let him in which he was VERY unhappy about. He eventually went off after using very colourful language! He will not remember and will be very sorry next week. It is such a shame as he loves the Soup Kitchen and he has said in the past that it is the highlight of his week. Clients struggle often with addictions, it is a day to day battle. Many of them have had difficulties in their childhood so struggle coping with their thoughts and depression.
A man came in this week that has been in a couple of times before. Very kind and friendly, but very anxious and vulnerable. He had cut his wrists on Monday evening, he has been doing this regularly. Emma our first aid volunteer helped him out, she checked the wounds and bandaged them. Emma wrote a letter that he could give to his doctor to help explain how he was feeling. Often clients do not find it easy to talk to people who they regard as professional. As volunteers they often feel more comfortable to confide in us.
He was very pleased to see us all again and asked if he could volunteer! Last time he came in asked the same. Clients sometimes do not understand what being a volunteer entails and that if you use and need the services you cannot volunteer. Having serious self-harming issues obviously does not warrant the possibility of volunteering either. I explained we had a long waiting list and as a service user he could not volunteer. I hope now he understands.
It’s lovely to hear the clients want to volunteer it shows they think very highly of what we do.
Every week a man comes in and quietly eats then leaves. He does not tend to hang around and chat. Anyway, he has no cooking facilities at all. This seems to be a common issue. I spoke to him about a cooker and he would like a one or two ring plug in a portable cooker, hob type of arrangement that sits on a work service. So we are appealing to our wonderful followers for one, please. It will need to be PAT tested for safety which we can do. See our Amazon Wishlist if you think you can help!
One of our newer volunteers came in this evening as an extra who is very experienced in mental health. She, as a result, will be a huge asset to the team. Having out of hours mental health support is vital. Now she will be able to work with our first aider to provide better-experienced care if a client comes in distressed or in crisis. It’s daunting for some volunteers at first especially if a client has been deemed as having “complex issues”, we hate that term. Having a team who are happy to sit with people who are more challenging is important. With more challenging clients you have to try harder as sometimes it is difficult but they also need the support and care the less challenging clients receive. All our clients need the same support and non-judgemental treatment as they all have their own difficulties. In time people start to trust you. Time and compassion works wonders and speaks volumes.
Young And Vulnerable
Our two younger rough sleepers came in. They are so low. They feel everyone has let them down. They see people being housed and other people moving on and they are still in a tent. Unfortunately, two people are difficult to house. It would be amazing to see them in a little flat of their own. They need a mentor and someone willing to fight to get them in accommodation. There must be a solution. Young kids should not be in a tent. They feel vulnerable and frightened most of the time and just abandoned by family and society. Most of us have or have had children. It is heartbreaking to see. They struggle to find work as living in a tent is not conducive to holding down a job. They want to work, they want a normal life. We at the Soup kitchen feel so hopeless and helpless!
They really have slipped through the net. They have had support from our wonderful SEAP lady but they need someone behind them to push them too. They do need to work with someone but also to fight for their cause also. Being young a mentor would really help. New people turn up often where they are staying, people they do not know which makes them feel more vulnerable.
I visited Eight Bells yesterday, a mental health charity run by volunteers and its clients. It is a wonderful place and they do so much amazing work with people who are so desperate and vulnerable. It was such a beautiful day so they had a barbecue. They have a lovely garden and in a quiet part of town. Many of their clients visit us. I was made very welcome. It is important that we all work together, for our clients so we can help them in the best way we can. Kathryn who is in charge is a compassionate lady who likes the Soup Kitchen has invested completely in her clients and their welfare.
Volunteering is a wonderful thing. It is a selfish act as well as a selfless act. Many volunteers are lonely, fighting their own battles in life and have their own concerns and worries. I see volunteers sometimes come into the session fed up or down but the Soup Kitchen lifts everyone’s spirits. It is a happy place. One volunteer said to me “it’s the best day of the week for me, I love it”. We know what she means.