Newbury Soup Kitchen which is a division of the Charity HAVEN (West Berkshire) has been in operation for over three and a half years and has grown from strength to strength.
On a day to day basis up until now and before COVID 19 the charity has been running from the Meryl Praill’s home who is the Operations Manager and the founder. The Salvation Army in the centre of town has been the location for the different outreach and food sessions along with extra sessions which involves serving meals from the van that has been donated from Adrian Smith at Swift Logistics previously.
During lockdown it had quickly become apparent that this could not continue this way. The services provided have had to change dramatically to feed rough sleepers and homeless people who have been housed in emergency accommodation. Delivering food has become the priority to encourage social distancing and self isolation which has been set up and implemented seven days a week.
Adrian Smith and SWIFT Logistics has again come to the forefront to support Meryl and the charity. Not only has the pandemic forced the charity to adapt and expand in the last 16 weeks but they have been able to move into a premises to continue their operations kindly provided by Adrian.
Meryl who founded the Soup kitchen said “We are so fortunate to be given the opportunity to move into this wonderful space. It means we can be more efficient placing everything under one roof and remove the charity from my home giving me a better work life balance that has definitely been lacking”.
“We have applied for planning permission for a commercial kitchen which we hope we will be granted by West Berkshire Council. Once this has been put in place all our meals can be prepared and packed up for delivery from one location and volunteers can get the benefit of everything under one roof. We have worked so hard with a skeleton team to get the space painted, cleaned up, filled with our donated food, items such as tents and sleeping bags to support our clients and an office for the operational side of the charity”. This unit is purely operational, our outreach will continue face to face and during our sessions once they open again at the Salvation Army hall.
This wonderful space which is a fantastic circa 2,000 sq ft unit will be available to us to use while we look for a more permanent building in the centre of town. Our long term goal is to open and run a Community Support and Outreach centre where service users will be able to come to get day to day support and the help they need, until then this fabulous space donated by Adrian will take the pressure of me, my family and enable to charity to expand and run more effectively. We cannot thank Adrian and his company enough, their kindness and support has been overwhelming”.
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