The rain did not keep people away this evening, we had 38 people in total and they ate everything Jan and Meryl had cooked.
Jan was not in tonight but she made an amazing beef stew which was served with roast potatoes and green beans. We had curried Parsnip Soup and Meryl made a pineapple upside down cake, which was served with custard. The ladies in the kitchen were amazing and cleared up extremely efficiently, they always work so hard and are often quite tired at the end of the session. It does give a very good buzz though knowing you have fed so many people.
Counselling and Support For Our Clients
A client came in this week, who we have seen transform from high level drug usage to being clean from drugs now for quite a few months. Taking drugs and being dependant on alcohol is usually used as a crutch to bury other issues that are deep-rooted and too painful to address.
Living in sobriety brings all the emotions to the surfaces that have been buried often for years and years. It is common for one addiction to be replaced by another, again to mask and bury emotional distress and pain.
For the first time in years having to deal with clear raw feelings, memories and trauma causes so much distress that they cannot cope. Panic attacks, anxiety and the huge fear of not being able to manage their reality and spiralling emotions. Long-term support is needed for people who are going through these frightening feelings. Unfortunately this evening this poor person had a panic attack. We took them outside, calmed them down by quietly holding their hand and talking to them in a calm manner until slowly their breathing settled. All their emotions built however into inconsolable tears.
Counselling brings feelings and experiences to the forefront and a person needs to be strong enough to cope with the pain of it. Talking Therapies can be useful they are able to offer a variety of treatments to help overcome problems such as anxiety, depression, stress and phobias.
Berkshire Women’s Aid also provides support for women at risk. They help in all aspects to support a person deal with the life they have and dealing with the life they have led.
Unfortunately some people move away for safeguarding reasons. They want to remove themselves from bad influences and the life that involves drugs, crime, danger and bad relationships. When this happens it means people move away from their statutory support network such as Swanswell, which is our local drug and alcohol treatment centre.
When this happens people start to miss appointments, as they cannot afford to get back into town. They still may be in West Berkshire but find it difficult to get back into Newbury for instance due to lack of money.
Many of our client’s jump the train as they do not have money for a ticket, or get on and off at stations where there is no ticket barrier, invariably they get a fine and end up with spiralling court charges that they cannot pay. This causes even more anxiety and stress.
Support is difficult to sustain and especially it seems for men particularly. There is no equivalent of Berkshire Women’s Aid for men. Many men seem to be left, falling through the cracks in society. Addiction can often stop people engaging. Finding support for people when they are working hard to turn their lives around and keeping hold of them to stop them falling back into the life they know is very difficult, witnessing this is very upsetting and frustrating for us at the Soup Kitchen.
Newbury Soup Kitchen will often provide train tickets for people to hospital appointments, court appearances and important appointments that are essential to attend. We have a “Make it happen fund” that is used in a means tested fashion. Every client’s situation is different but we will help where we can. Simple payment such a train ticket can make a huge difference to a person’s situation. If it makes sure a person is more likely to go to a court appearance for example that makes an outcome of a situation much better.
We are very happy to now have a wonderful lady from a charity called Forgotten Feet join our team of volunteers. The charity is there to create a free regular chiropody/podiatry service for those in need and least likely to access a foot care service. She will be coming in once a month until we are in a position to offer a more regular service once we are in a bigger space and able to open more regularly.
Donations From The Community
We had a generous donation of Pot Noodles this week from the lovely people from Vodafone who have been collecting for us during Lent. Many were given out on Saturday at our session in the Wharf.
Colline, from Colline’s Kitchen, also popped down with some beautiful freshly made healthy salads, quiches and cakes. We have a few clients who are vegetarian so that was wonderful. We try to cater for everyone.
Please look at our website and Amazon Wish list, they are updated regularly.
We like to keep you informed of new stories, events, fundraising volunteer requirements and exciting news.
Our project on The Good Exchange has allowed us to buy a defibrillator from the money donated from The Hare and Hounds in Speen with their Comedy Night fundraising event and Match Funding from Greenham Trust. We are extremely grateful for all donations; every penny goes to supporting the rough sleepers, homeless and vulnerable in Newbury and West Berkshire.