Supporting those in need during this time

Again quite a busy night.

It was raining a little this evening and the hairdressing gazebo had to be tied to the railings by the river. Even though the gazebo is heavy duty it will easily break with one big gust of wind.

Lewis from @FINK supplied a part of the menu this week. Throughout lockdown they provided a meal on a Tuesday. FINK say, “We are a social enterprise street food events and cater, who are on a mission to break down mental health stigma, one bite at a time”.

They believe very much in supporting Mental Health in any way they can. They 50% of their profits are used to achieve their social mission.   We are one of their chosen charities and they have committed to carry on that support once a month for us.  They brought it hot from the Globe Pub whose kitchen facilities they use so it was really easy.  They made the most lovely looking jackfruit burgers in a brioche bun with red cabbage coleslaw and cheese.

We also had on the menu a Halloween themed pumpkin and butternut soup along with macaroni cheese. There was crumble for dessert the food looked amazing this week, are clients definitely ate very well.

We keep a record every week to see how many people we have had come to receive a meal. Tonight, we gave out 35 meals to 30 people. The numbers are increasing week on week. We are now going into a second lockdown as of next week, we will this time be keeping our service open.

In the previous lockdown we moved to a delivery service to provide food provision to everyone deemed vulnerable who were placed in emergency accommodation. Most of those and more recent individuals have been housed or are in temporary accommodation waiting for their new property to come to fruition. Therefore, this service in that capacity will not be required again.

We will be staying open during this time and providing food on a Thursday and Saturday. We need to continue to encourage social distancing and discourage people staying after they have received their meal. Our clients are pretty good, but I think we can encourage them to be better.

The Salvation Army kept their food provisions open in most parts of the country during the last lockdown so we will still be able to use the Salvation Army facilities on a Thursday as a takeaway service as usual.

It may be seen as a service that encourages people out rather than keeping them in. We were asked to change our services last time but this time it is different. Other local food provision charities stayed open during the last lockdown and I think that this time it is appropriate to do the same. This vulnerable cohort of people are now scattered around different accommodation rather than a few locations such as hotels and b&b’s so a delivery service is not as practical to implement. We still deliver to a few individuals who are too poorly to get to us or have mobility issues so we will continue to do that. 

We are lucky now to have our unit to store our donated food and items. Rough sleeper outreach workers also come to us; we provide food to go to people still in temporary accommodation that have limited cooking facilities. There are still a handful of people in hotel accommodation too. They do have cooking facilities and we are encouraging them to cook for themselves rather than continuously providing ready cooked meals. 

This hopefully gives the opportunity for people to start to be more independent grow self-esteem and interest in healthy food. We have seen evidence that certain individuals are started to cook for others, building relationships and sense of community and family. This bonding process encourages stronger relationships and a more settled and happy living environment. 

Louise Burns who works at the school with her sons Dexter and Sebastian came to the unit to deliver food collected from the school Harvest Festival. Donations were given to the school during the “Kiss and drop” on two days before their service prepared in their classroom bubbles for Harvest Festival and shared in the online platform that the school have set up. We are astounded how generous the families of Enborne School have been toward Newbury Soup Kitchen.  This food will be used in our freshly cooked meals, food parcels and given to the people in emergency accommodation to cook themselves. This food will help many many people over the next few weeks and months. 

We would like to thank Alison Canning and Louise Burns for helping with this. 

We have updated our Amazon Wishlist 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 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. 

Thank you for reading our weekly blog and supporting Newbury Soup Kitchen.