Busy Times, Keeping it Simple & Advocacy Support Needed

Thursday (4th) night was a very busy night; 52 people attended so probably the second or third busiest session in the two and a half years we have been open.

This week we tried a new main course and came up with the idea of Ham, Egg, Chips and Beans. Tesco had kindly donated some beautiful ham which gave us the idea – and Jan reckoned that she cooked over 80 eggs!  Having so many people in to feed can be very very busy but surprisingly even with so many eggs to cook it wasn’t stressful, just very hot in the kitchen. As ever, the kitchen also supplied hot dogs along with a vegetarian option too. Many people chose to have chip butties, egg butties, piles of chips draped in mayo, tomato sauce and cheese. I think to date it has been one of the simplest, but also one of the most successful offerings. We have a few clients that choose not eat in the Soup Kitchen, they usually like to take something away. This week those same people stayed and ate a good meal. 

We have been kindly donated some Soup Kettles. As they are donated we would like to request help to PAT test them to check they are safe to use.  If you can assist us, or know of anyone who can, please contact us via info@newburysoupkitchen.org.uk – thank you….

This week was also the turn of the HOLT (Health Outreach Liaison Team) who attended from 4pm. The nurses will be coming in on alternate weeks at this time to help and support our clients with medical and mental health matters. Often our clients struggle to engage and make appoints with a surgery. Some people do not want to sit in a doctors or hospital waiting room due to anxiety or self consciousness. Over the weeks and months we hope that the nurses will be able to build trust with our clients and help them get the mental or mental health care they so desperately require. 

There are as many pathway to homelessness as there are homeless people. For some, it’s a sudden free-fall triggered by a lost job, a broken home life or some other catastrophic personal upheaval. For others the road to sleeping rough winds down a slow, steady and depressing gradient until it arrives quite literally, at rock bottom. Tragically, some are even born into it.

Some factors and experiences can make people more vulnerable to homelessness: these include poor physical health, mental health problems, alcohol and drugs issues, bereavement, experience of care, and experience of the criminal justice system. No matter how they got there, however, every homeless person has one thing in common, they know how it feels to be an outcast.

People often criticise or are judgemental towards people with addiction homeless or have antisocial behaviour. Nothing is straightforward or black and white when dealing with people in this predicament. People feel invisible and worthless. One of our regular clients has said in the past that, “I felt so invisible that sometimes being bashed was a relief at least those people were engaging with me!”

Working together we can all take the time to support and help individuals to pit the pieces of their lives back together. We have to remember that people do not fit in boxes, everyone has a different “normal” different expectations of happiness and achievement.  That is something we have to be aware of.

We are still looking for advocacy support on a Wednesday afternoon in time for our new session. Many people we work with have issues that they struggle to sort out often day to day problems. These issues can be letter writing, phone calls, appointments at the job centre or council offices. Advocacy is a service that we can provide to give people a voice, help them with issues that are causing anxiety and stress and to help people on the path to a more positive future. If you are interested in helping us please email info@newburysoupkitchen.org.uk