It was a lovely session this week. The word is getting around so quite a few people came to say hi.
We had sausage casserole and mash on the menu which is always very popular. This week we came to the hall earlier to set up which gave us more time to get the oven up to temperature and the food heated up. The last couple of weeks it has been a bit of a rush and a little stressful for the kitchen volunteers. Now all procedures are properly in place and the new COVID SAFE routine is established everything ran like clockwork. As usual the volunteers knuckled down, did their job and brought the session together seamlessly.
Kate came back for the first time this week and cut hair outside which was lovely. We are poised with a gazebo, camping light and gazebo weights for Kate to hold her hairdressing sessions outside throughout the winter. As long as it is practical and safe to do so. I hope someone is keen to be gazebo monitor!! After so long having a haircut made people feel much tidier which helps towards gaining self-esteem and self-worth. Kate will have people queueing around the block once the word gets out.
Permission was obtained by people in these photos for social media.
Standing by the canal watching the ducks swim by definitely made the experience better.
It has become apparent how well some of our clients have done during lockdown, but of course some have not. Moving from the streets to accommodation to be clean, fed everyday goes a long way to starting a journey of engagement and sobriety.
We have put a film together during this time that you may not have seen. It is a personal account of how Newbury Soup Kitchen has helped people during lockdown and how we help in a day to day basis. It’s from the heart and very emotional. It lasts about 4.5 minutes. It is below just in case you didn’t watch it at the time. Grab a tissue.
Other than our weekly sessions we provide food parcels to individuals that we work closely with. Some were in emergency accommodation and have been housed and some are still in B&B’s This takes the pressure off the Foodbank who are also stretched to the limit at present.
The food parcels come from donated food that the public purchase and put in our food bins in local Co-ops and a few other places around the area. We have one now in LIDL on the London Road A4 which is by Pets at Home too. Due to the Pandemic the food donations have reduced hugely but the demand for food parcels has increased. Below is a list and the locations, we are very grateful for all the support we get and to the supermarkets that allow us to have a bin in their store.
Having a new Lidl food bin is also very exciting.
A couple of men who are now housed from rough sleeping a couple of years ago popped in to say hello. We are pleased that people feel that they can come by and see us. Sometimes it is just for a catch-up or a meal. They like to share their stories and keep in touch to tell us how they are doing.
This week we were asked for WARM winter coats Large and Extra Large. We had a couple which we gave away. We are not looking for any donations of clothes at present due to storage and COVID other than warm, clean coats in good condition and freshly laundered. They can be dropped off on a Thursday 4.30pm- 5.30pm at the Salvation Army hall in a black sack please with a label to say what it is. We have to quarantine the item for a week before we give it away to anyone, so we have to be strict on the way it arrives to us. Thank you.
One of our clients gave permission to have his photos taken for us in his new coat and using our new Co-op green bags that have been donated.
They are much better than the paper ones. Having said that Carole and Bridget this week did use both. The paper bags stop the food tipping up and the green bags don’t tear. No accidents this week, it’s a learning curve especially when it comes to gravy leakages.
Tony and the team at Co-Op Wash Common are incredibly supportive of the Soup Kitchen.
We have updated our Amazon Wishlist https://amzn.to/2fYwyJz which has items that we use every week for the sessions and also items such as tents and sleeping bags that will help support rough sleepers throughout the winter. With items such as this we are also able to 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. 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.
Our project on The Good Exchange is an easy way to donate https://app.thegoodexchange.com/project/18016 on this also you can read up about us a bit more.
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
We appreciate your patience with us too, especially from the noise and sometimes incidents that occur on a Thursday in Northcroft Lane during the sessions. We will work with our clients to keep these to a minimum. This support is vital to so many who are lost, alone and suffer so much every day. It is a privilege to be able to help them in some way.
We try and say thank you personally to donations as much as we can, but we would like to say THANK YOU for all the support you give us, without the help and patience from the Community we cannot do what we do.