Supporting Our Clients

One of the best sessions we have had in three years. Due to the rain we was expecting it to be quiet. However we had 58 people in and 40 in the first ten minutes. The atmosphere was really nice and someone commented the lovely buzz in the room all evening. 

We had a lovely red spiced vegetable soup cooked by Jan. The main course was cooked by Henry and Joes this week. Mustard and honey pork cassoulet. We made 14kg (can’t believe it) of sliced potatoes for dauphinois potatoes which took up a tray and a half. Jan did roasted parsnips and lots of roasted sprouts with lardons. I’m pretty sure the relationship between Jan and sprouts is well and truly over. Standard but very popular potato salad, green salad as sides. For dessert we had Crumble which was apple, plum and raisin. We have been donated a large box of raisins. Over Christmas we had donations of porridge oats and flour so Crumble will be in the menu a lot, it is very very popular. 

Last week no one asked for hot dogs and we had bread rolls, this week the kitchen staff got through 7 tins of hot dogs on top of the huge amount of food we provided. Every morsel went. 

As promised we purchased a luminous green collar for one of the dogs, he looked so cute. We purchased two as unsure of neck size as he definitely has middle age spread. Someone else took the other collar for his dog. These collars are a great idea for people who are either rough sleeping or who are walking about a lot during the day, for some people also if they are wayfaring (which means they stay at the hostel at night and have to stay out between certain hours).

We have put some of these collars on our Amazon Wish list

Outreach, Support & Donations: Knitting For Those In Need

For the foreseeable future Kate our hairdresser and Sue our foot are specialist are alternating their outreach service on a bi-weekly basis. Kate will always cover extra weeks if necessary as she is freer on a Thursday now. Kate cut 13 people’s hair today. One person had no hair left! Meryl offered him a lovely warm knitted hat to compensate for the hair loss as it was raining. The knitted hats came from Louise and a team of wonderful knitters from the Burghclere and Newtown WI. They get together monthly at their group ‘Needles and Natter’. There are about 10 of them, varying in age from 50 to 100 years young. 

In fact the lady who is 100 years old knitted the gloves pictured. They are appealing for donations of double knit and chunky yarns in darker colours (not pastel). If they do receive donated pastel colours they can use the yarn to knit baby clothes or squares for baby blankets. They can send them to a Refuge in Hampshire. They knit a variety of things including red hats for newborns in North Hampshire hospitals:

  • Squares for blankets that go to the Hampshire Refuge
  • Hats and mitts for the Newbury Soup Kitchen
  • Children’s jumpers that are sent to Zimbabwe and South Africa
  • Poppies for 100-year commemorations
  • Beat Bobbies for Hants Police
  • Twiddle muffs for dementia patients at Basingstoke hospital
  • We tend to look out for different things to knit as the knitters like variety.

The address to contact the WI is Jean Milford (secretary) for donations also.

Their group focused on the Newbury Soup Kitchen last year during the 100 years celebration of their WI and they set themselves the challenge to knit 100 hats for the Newbury Soup Kitchen which they achieved in the end knitting nearer 150. They are very passionate about supporting the Newbury Soup Kitchen and will continue to do so in 2020. We would like to thank them for that.  They like to put an appeal out for wool donations. Either new or leftover yarn would be great. It can be dropped off at the Salvation Army shop or hall. Please say it is for Newbury Soup kitchen. Louise also knitted a Meryl a wonderful Santa hat so she could wear it out when she was doing Soup Kitchen activities in the cold festive period. 

We also need wool for another lady who crochets lovely little animals and seasonal toys to sell. The proceeds go to Newbury Soup Kitchen also. 

Biodegradable Containers Needed

Jan from the kitchen has requested that we put this link up for biodegradable food dishes. They are more robust than the plates and are easier to handle with hot food. Having higher sides they are more stable for people to carry who are unsteady on their feet or potentially pushed bustled a bit in the hall when it is so busy.  The Salvation Army will be pleased with us as it saves stuff getting spilled on the carpet. If you contact us if you would like to purchase a box of these for us on we can arrange delivery details for you. Thank you. 


Supporting Our Clients: Addiction

We have clients who come in as they are unable to afford food and pay rent. Unfortunately for many who are in their own accommodation have monthly challenges of coping with arrears with their rent. As a result they are unable to swap into a smaller property which will be easier to manage. Bedroom tax causes many people to struggle further which puts them in arrears further. This happens if someone moves out of the property such as an older child or if an older relative dies for example.  Eviction is always a last resort and housing organisations will work with a tenant closely to try to avoid this. We do have a Legal Aid Solicitor who helps with cases that come to our attention if necessary, which has been very successful,  stopping many evictions for our clients. Evicting a person in the long run costs more money as families would be put into temporary accommodation such as B&B or equivalent, they then would eventually go back onto the housing register. Single people would end up in hostel accommodation again costing extra money until they are able to bid on the housing register again which can take months and months. We try to help where we can to get support people in this situation. We work closely with Erica at West Berkshire Homeless also with this.

Overcoming drug addiction:
Most of our clients have an addiction of some kind. Developing an addiction to drugs isn’t a character flaw or a sign of weakness, and it takes more than willpower to overcome the problem. People who abuse illegal prescription drugs can suffer from changes in the brain, this causes powerful cravings and a compulsion to use that makes sobriety seem like an impossible task.  However recovery is never out of reach, no matter how hopeless your situation seems or how many times you’ve tried and failed before. Change is possible, it takes dogged determination and finding the right treatment and support. 

For people who struggle with addiction, the toughest step toward recovery is the very first one: recognising that you have a problem and deciding to make a change is the hardest thing to admit.  It’s normal to feel uncertain and very anxious about whether you’re ready to start on the journey of recovery. It is not uncommon for people to think they do not have it in them to have the strength to quit. If your are addicted to a prescription drug for instance you may be concerned about how you’re going to find an alternate way to treat a medical condition such as pain. Committing to sobriety involves changing many things in your life that you are used to including:

  • the way you deal with stress
  • what you do in your free time
  • how you think about yourself
  • who you allow in your life
  • the choice of prescription and over-the-counter medications you take

Making a commitment to change, you can overcome your addiction and regain control of your life which can be liberating. 

Ways to help the journey of control, change and sobriety:

  • Keep track of your drug use, including when and how much you use. This will give you a better sense of the role the addiction is playing in your life.
  • It is really helpful to list the pros and cons of quitting, as well as the costs and benefits of continuing your drug use. Including the value to you that the financial  improvement will make. 
  • Consider the things that are important to you, such as your partner, your kids, your pets, your career, or your health. How does your drug use affect those things?
  • Ask someone you trust about their feelings on your drug use. It is possible painful to hear but it will help with strengthening your decision making. 
  • Ask yourself if there’s anything preventing you from changing. What could help you make the change?

Preparing for change: 5 key steps to addiction recovery

  1. Remind yourself of the reasons you want to change.
  2. Think about your past attempts at recovery, if any. What worked? What didn’t?
  3. Set specific, measurable goals, such as a start date or limits on your drug use.
  4. Remove reminders of your addiction from your home, workplace, and other places you frequent.
  5. Tell friends and family that you’re committing to recovery, and ask for their support.

Explore your addiction treatment options

Once you’ve committed to recovery, it’s time to explore your treatment choices. While addiction treatment can vary according to the specific drug, a successful program often includes different elements, such as:

Detoxification. Usually the first step is to purge your body of drugs and manage withdrawal symptoms.

Behavioral counseling. Individual, group, and/or family therapy can help you identify the root causes of your drug use, repair your relationships, and learn healthier coping skills.

Medication may be used to manage withdrawal symptoms, prevent relapse, or treat any co-occurring mental health condition such as depression or anxiety.

Long-term follow-up can help to prevent relapse and maintain sobriety. This may include attending regular in-person support groups or online meetings to help keep your recovery on track.

Substance abuse and mental health. As you seek help for drug addiction, it’s also important to get treatment for any other medical or psychological issues you’re experiencing. Your best chance of recovery is by getting combined mental health and addiction treatment from the same treatment provider or team.(Ref help

Please Donate From Our Wishlist

Many of our rough sleepers have bicycles which we organise through the Community Furniture Project who support us hugely. This form of transport gives a person more options in every day life, they are able to commute to work, job centre, hospital or doctor appointment for example. This helps encourage, engagement and hope for an individual. Puncture repair kits are so important as without the use of a bike due to a puncture it can affect a persons job prospects and engagement with essential services. 

Our Amazon Wishlist has lots of items to suit all budgets that will help our clients and support the running of Newbury Soup Kitchen.