It has been a big relief last week to have the kitchen inspection completed and our rating of 5 awarded by West Berkshire Food Standards Agency.
Our new space as a celebration did lend itself to a bit of a celebration. We cooked individual pizzas from scratch which was great fun but hard work. three volunteers prepared a wonderful three course meal to hand out this Thursday. Rob and Chris put together 40 individual pizzas both meat and vegetarian making the dough, sauces from scratch and chopped lots of onions!
Julie worked her magic with Leek and Potato Soup and a banoffee sponge that came with custard. We have had lots of crates of bananas over the last couple of weeks, so many in fact that it has become a joke and topic of daily conversation in the kitchen.
We had 40 pizzas and provided 44 meals this week. We always make sure we have a few spare meals ready just in case we are very busy. Some people just want soup or Pot Noodles, everyone has different requirements. We try to cater for as many people as we can to support them. We have a dairy free, gluten free and vegan which is not too much of an issue as Pret and Greggs can cater for this on top of our weekly menu.
A group of us had a Suicide Prevention Training this week which was very informative. West Berkshire Suicide Prevention Action Group offered front line voluntary sector workers, local business managers, owners and their staff a free training session on Suicide Prevention. This ‘in a nutshell’ course was delivered by Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Gill Cresswell.
Some of us have been on a two-day course in the past which does quite a lot of intense role play which is very useful however unsettling. This course was completed over Zoom as with all training during this climate. Training like this is very important for our volunteers as it highlighted for us regularly the need for extra knowledge with suicide prevention. Over the years we have sadly experienced situations that have occurred during our sessions. We have prevented a suicide attempt and dreadful self-harming that can be life threatening. Many people come to us for support and someone to talk to. People often talk about suicide and this is something we cannot be frightened to talk about with someone in CRISIS or distress. We are open ‘out of hours’ and we often have to wait on the end of a phone to get through to people to help. Training gives us time to hopefully to calm people and sit with them until relevant help arrives or someone from the mental health out of hours team can speak to them. Mental Health support is stretched to the limit and COVID has definitely exacerbated this.
We have a new page on our website to support people who need information if they find themselves homeless or in food poverty.
For the last year we have had a project with The Good Exchange.
We would like to say thank you to everyone who had donated help us reach our target. The money will help with the ongoing running costs of The Soup Kitchen, Expansion, Training and Outreach.
We would like to say thank you to Greenham Trust for support us throughout the year also.
We have updated our Amazon Wishlist http://tinyurl.com/6v4z3lju
which has items that we use every week for the sessions and also with items that support the council and hostel outreach workers who can come to our new unit and help themselves to anything they need for vulnerable people we all work with. People who have been housed still need ongoing support we regularly put items on the list too. Collaboration is key and now we have storage and facilities in one place we can do this more effectively. Your donations matter and make a difference to people’s lives.
We are appealing for Pot Noodles as our stocks are getting low. They are available at Tesco for 50p with a Clubcard or they are accessible on our Amazon Wishlist. Thank you
Facebook has a donation button which is at the top of this link and you can reach our Just Giving donation page here. http://www.justgiving.com/haven-westberkshire
Cheques can be posted to
Newbury Soup Kitchen
C/o HAVEN (West Berkshire)
1 Hambridge Lane,
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