This evening people were banging on the door at 6pm desperate to come in as it was so cold outside. We had 34 people in total so a quieter night, though the benefits are that there is plenty of time to sit down and listen to people. The night shelter is closing imminently and that is causing a lot concern for the people that are using it, especially given the extended cold snap we are going to be experiencing over the coming weeks.
Some of the rough sleepers like to stay each week after Employment plus in the hall which is held during the day. They like to help set up the chairs for us. It is lovely to see that they like the feeling of being needed and useful and they want to give something back.
HELP AND SUPPORT
We had a client in this evening who is struggling on a daily basis with thoughts of suicide and self harming. Many people struggle every minute of every day. All we can do is support, listen and provide a non judgemental place for them to come. We have the ability when necessary to contact the Safeguarding teams if we are concerned about people’s state of mind or their safety to themselves or others.
Jacky came in distressed, she has a possession order on her property We have a solicitor who can help clients with eviction issues on a legal aid basis. She said she has lived there for 20yrs and raised her child there. We always need access on a legal aid basis of a solicitor who can help us support our clients.
Alex Pye from West Berkshire Elevate who came in a few weeks ago has sorted out CSCS qualification exams and revision books for two of our lads. This qualification will enable them to work on building sites and open opportunities for them.
I had a lovely lady come in from SEAP last night. SEAP offer advocacy service, health complaint support and generally a voice for people who do not have one. Hopefully she will come in most weeks with her laptop and support our clients with problems. That will be amazing.
FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD
Jan cooked spaghetti bolognese and jacket potatoes, it all went down a storm. Our clients really can knock food back. We have another supermarket who has come on board to offer us a supply of meat so hopefully we can start cooking more.
Our new volunteers that have come forward to pick up the Pret donation have started doing this. It has helped so much. We now have a team of people who do not come in to volunteer during the sessions themselves but nevertheless help in a way that is invaluable for the smooth running of the Soup Kitchen.
I am so pleased that potentially many of our rough sleepers will be getting accommodation. I know we will all miss them coming in to see us each week as we have become very fond of them and have really enjoyed seeing so many of them change, calm down, open up and trust us. It’s wonderful to see these broken people slowly get back on their feet and move on with their lives.
Jacob came in, he now has his own accommodation which is wonderful. He was so clean shaven! Even though some of our rough sleepers have moved into accommodation many of them still use the Soup kitchen as part of their social life. We are glad we can offer that to people.
People often pop in with donations. A lovely lady with her little girl came in with five foil survival blankets that wrap over sleeping bags. I gave two out to our young couple who are still in a tent. This lady said she was sorry she could not do more as she did not have much money. We are constantly humbled by people generosity even though they often cannot really afford it. Thank you to everyone who donates items to our vulnerable in the area and to the Soup Kitchen.