We had 45 people in last night. Jan cooked Pork with marmalade, with Red Cabbage, Mashed Potato and Roasted Onions. It went down very well, so much so that we ran out of mash so someone had to go to buy some jacket potatoes. Jan had also made a Cauliflower Soup, which was lovely, very popular and definitely surprised a few people who were unsure at first. Finally there was Hot Cross Bun Bread and Butter Pudding with Chocolate. It was very rich, but again it seemed to go down well.
Every week something happens in the session that causes us to pull together as a team, and often take us out of our comfort zone. However we always work well together and do what is necessary to provide the care and support needed the time. This week was no exception.
A client collapsed with chest pains this evening, outside of the hall. He was in huge distress and he was struggling to cope with the pain he was in. The ambulance unfortunately took an hour to get to us, even though he was a priority case. During that hour we had to use all the skills we have been trained for – to keep him safe and warm. He was in and out of consciousness and showing concerning symptoms. The PCO’s were a great support as they were with us at the time. They called a local security guard who arrived after running to us with a AED (defibrillator) as we were getting more and more concerned, fortunately we did not need to use it. He was eventually taken to hospital.
The Soup Kitchen team were wonderful. Everyone rallied around to help at the same time making sure the Soup Kitchen Session itself did not suffer.
This is the second time now that we have had symptoms of a Heart Attack in the Soup Kitchen. It is reassuring to know we have a designated team of people who are qualified enough to deal with situation calmly and effectively.
Severe chest pains that can be in the jaw, and down one, or both arms can be symptoms of angina. It is important to ask a person suffering from severe chest pains if they have had similar symptoms before. Angina can be relieved with a GTN spray, which is taken under the tongue – this can be administered by themselves. A person who suffered from Angina should carry this. It is important always to call 999 if the symptoms persist after use of GTN spray and have not eased with a little rest.
A Heart Attack is more severe, crushing pain mainly in the centre or left side of the chest and is not relieved by rest. This pain can be in the jaw, shoulder, and radiate down the arm. Sweating, nausea, shortness of breath, or severe weakness may accompany the pain. It is essential to call 999 and tell the Ambulance Control that it is a suspected Heart Attack. A Heart Attack is caused by a sudden obstruction of the blood supply to part of the heart muscle. The risk is that the heart can stop beating – this is called Cardiac Arrest.
According to The British Red Cross you can offer the person an aspirin tablet to chew slowly, as this will help thin their blood. They should not take more than 300mg in one dose.
IT IS ESSENTIAL HOWEVER THAT YOU ASK IF THE PATIENT HAS AN ALLERGY TO ASPRIN. DO NOT GIVE ASPRIN IF A PERSON IS UNRESPONSIVE.
Ambulance Control will help advise on this.
On Thursday evening Johnathan Nelsey from The Hare and Hounds in Speen held a Comedy Night to raise funds for The Soup Kitchen. A few of us were invited. We were a bit late due to the issues of the evening and explained the reason why. As a result funds were raised for us to buy a defibrillator, which we have been able to Match Fund through The Good Exchange.
This week we have heard that some of our clients have really been struggling. Mental health affects people in so many ways. People will often self-harm or even try to attempt suicide. Sometimes people drink or take drugs to block out feelings and voices. This in itself can cause antisocial behaviour or aggression, be it verbal or threatening. Every week we meet people who are really sad and hurting. Sitting with someone who feels so low, at rock bottom, is such an important thing to do.
Our clients are normal people who have, for one reason or another, found themselves in this dreadful position. Listening and just being there helps build trust. We work very hard to help where we can with outreach and signposting along with spending time with our clients so if they wish they can offload. Some people do not have family of friends they feel they can trust. We can at least listen and give our time and compassion. This kindness and compassion is appreciated by everyone, and trust and respect grows on both sides.
Berkshire Women's Aid
We are now in a position if necessary to sign post and liaise with Berkshire Women’s Aid based at Broadway House. We can refer anyone who is suffering from at least three of the below as long as they are female:
Homelessness or problems with housing.
Problematic Substance Misuse
Mental health/Self Harm
Money or debt management problems
Experiencing or at risk of domestic or sexual abuse or sex working
This is a service that we can refer many of our clients to who are living with some, if not all of these issues and living in a cycle of fear and destruction. The women in question will always need to engage and accept help but hopefully this service will make a huge difference their lives.
Every Saturday we provide food for the Rough Sleepers locally, it is simple and straightforward, but now fulfils the gap in the week. People with no means of support can now, if they wish access food 7 days a week in the town. Each Saturday has become like a social club. We insist that our volunteers have Food Hygiene level 2 and everyone is DBS Enhanced for vulnerable adults.
It is an enjoyable session with a very different vibe to the Thursday sessions.
We are still looking for support with donations of items from our Amazon Wish list. We add items as and when they are needed and are always very appreciative of all the support we receive. Everything we put on the wish list is to help us provide a better more comprehensive service and improve support to our clients.
Please also remember by shopping on Amazon Smile rather than Amazon, and selecting Haven (West Berkshire) as your chosen charity, we receive 0.5% of your Amazon purchase value as a donation!