High Temperatures….Adapting to New Challenges

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Blimey it was hot in that hall!

We had 42 people in and Kate our volunteer hairdresser did 11 haircuts, poor Kate was so hot in the little room she works from. Unfortunately the fan had to be put into the kitchen for the volunteers. It is unusual that we have to use fans but we will make sure we have some more next time.

It was a bit of a movable menu this week. Jan made a lamb and separate beef pasta bake . She slow roasted them both for 10 hours so it fell apart easily when she shredded it. The evening before we were donated lots of fruit and salad, carrots, white and red cabbage so Meryl made a coleslaw and Liz made a fruit salad in the hall on setting up. Along with a green salad and potato salad it was a great meal and went down very well. For the heat we had choc ices too.

Lots of clients came in under the influence of alcohol as they had been drinking all day due to the heat. Even though they drink alcohol due to addiction they also do it to quench their thirst. This however does not work, alcohol dehydrates a person and this in itself increases risks of serious health issues in heavy drinkers even death.

With every passing season new challenges occur and the summer can be the toughest and most difficult of them all. When people are looking forward to the children breaking up from school for the holidays and booked trips with the family it is a common misconception that things get easier for the people living on our streets once winter is over. However the hotter weather brings with it a whole new challenges for rough sleepers. It is horrendous for people to have to endure the blistering heat constantly without shelter or indoor relief from the heat especially with no food or water.

Thirst will consume and it can sometimes be difficult to reach fresh water even in a town or city, in the past rough sleepers have been refused cold water and access to establishments. This is humiliating and degrading for people who are already at a devastatingly low point in their life.

Sometimes rough sleepers can feel vulnerable sleeping at night so it can be a choice to sleep during the day. In high temperatures this can be very difficult. Last year one of the people sleeping in a tent throughout the heat wave said it was about 50 degrees in his tent. This meant he could not use it during the day or night. He ended sleeping in a bush for safety and cover. The choice is between sleeping in the sun and getting dehydrated and sun burnt or walking around all day to stay awake until the sun goes down, either way a rough sleeper runs the risk of severe dehydration. This can exacerbate pre-existing health conditions, dehydration can interact poorly with psychiatric medications, and lead to heat stroke. People who lack adequate shelter and water can die as a result of extreme heat.

During this hot weather it is so important for everyone to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.  Nationally the pressure is being put on us all to use less plastic. There are now water bottle refill stations organised in establishments around town and cities. Newbury is no exception, below is a list of some of the places that have signed up to this new initiative.   Newbury Town Council – Colline’s Kitchen –  The Hatchet Inn – Pret A Manger – Lock Stock & Barrel – Costa Coffee – Neal’s Yard Remedies – John Lewis & Partners – Kings Cafe – The Real Macaron Company – and many more……

We are advertising this to all our rough sleepers and other clients too. We are giving out full water bottles donated from Khuene and Nagel drink distributors to our clients which can then be reused and refilled. This refill service is not only for our clients, it is for all members of the public also. Please spread the word, this will reduce plastic usage and keep everyone hydrated throughout the Summer months.

We are running low on bio degradable plates and takeaway clam-shell boxes.  We use these during our sessions as they are better for the environment than plastic plates, safer to use for safeguarding reasons than china and easier to recycle and compost. These can easily be purchased off our Amazon Wish list under Amazon Smile.

Through Amazon Smile we also receive 0.5% commission for the Soup Kitchen under our charity HAVEN (West Berkshire) which Newbury Soup Kitchen is a division of.

Please enjoy your summer holidays and time with your families but please spare a thought for people less fortunate than yourself. A cold drink in the heat and a hot drink in the cold. A smile, a friendly chat, walking past pretending homelessness is ok should not be an option, for any of us. Please support Newbury Soup Kitchen through our project on The Good Exchange –  we do what we can to make a difference to people’s lives.

Thank you !

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