The Good Exchange Project With Greenham Trust, Donations And Recruiting

The weather was much milder this week so people were generally in high spirits. We had 49 people through the door and 21 in by 6.02pm which we think is a record. For a change, we decided to tackle the tins of hot dogs that we had been donated by the Mothers Union in Hungerford.  On the menu this evening we had: Celeriac soup, Hot Dogs with onions and grated cheese with Boston Spicy Beans, which always goes down very well, Vegetable Korma with Rice and Apple and Mango Crumble with Custard. We are now at the end of our donated apples so we will have to be more imaginative with desserts in the future, having said that, we were given a box of mangos this week from Tesco. They are so messy to cut up we decided to put some in the crumble that was very popular.

Food Donations​

Our menu is getting bigger each week. We try very hard to use all the amazing and often huge quantity of food donated by Marks and Spencer both in the High Street and the Retail ParkWaitrose and Tesco. It feels like Christmas each week and always an exciting challenge to use the food as it comes in. We always leave fresh, ambient food for the Newbury Foodbank if we are unable to use it so on a Friday they can give out fresh food to their clients.

Food donations also support the Saturday Soup Session in the Wharf at 4pm for Rough Sleepers and Homeless. Please remind people of that is you see them on the streets.

The Good Exchange With Support From Greenham Trust

We have been very lucky to have been invited on The Good Exchange where The Peter Baker Foundation wanted to donate some money to us. Meryl has been asked to put together a project for the Good Exchange Website to receive this wonderful donation. “Newbury Soup Kitchen Running Costs 2019 and Expansion into Community Support Centre”.  We are also extremely humbled to be offered matched funding too from Greenham Trust who support us so much. With this money we can extend our training and services and improve on the support we can give our clients and volunteers.  You can see our project on thegoodexchange.com. Meryl will be offering more comprehensive training to the volunteers.  We would love some support with training, someone who would be willing to take some of the organising, facilitating and sourcing courses would be wonderful.

Training, Outreach and Advocacy

This week some of us went to an Adult Safeguarding Level 2 course organised through West Berkshire Council. It was very informative and gives the volunteers the skills they need to recognise when a service user is in need of Safeguarding if they are an adult at risk. This is important information to help keep people safe and to work within the Care Act 2014 and Mental Capacity Act.

A lot of what we do is Outreach and Advocacy. This week we spent time in the Council Offices with a client who has problems with Council Tax and now Bailiffs. This client has found having a huge Council Tax bill which has escalated over time is now affecting his mental health and his work. It took a couple of hours to sit and write out statements for them to sign explaining their situation. Often people are unable to cope and to sort out these issues without support. Writing a letter can be alien, reading and understanding forms, requirements and procedures is impossible, therefore it is easier to bury your head. The situation escalates. Having Advocacy helps a person so much, this gives a vulnerable person “a voice”.  Something that some find simple is a mountain to climb for others. For an Advocate it is easy to communicate with services, to explain, fill out forms and arrange a reasonable affordable payment plans etc, this takes so much of the stress away. Now our client is happier which will improve his Mental Health, his work attendance and his financial future and accommodation security.

HIV In The UK

In 2017, it was estimated that there are 101,600  living with HIV in the U.K.

92% of these people are diagnosed – this still means that around 1 in 12 people living with HIV in the UK do not know that they have the virus. It is thought that 98% of people diagnosed with HIV in the UK are on treatment. 97% of those on treatment are virally suppressed, which means they can’t pass the virus on.

Of all the people living with HIV in the UK (diagnosed and undiagnosed), 87% are virally suppressed. With treatment in 2017  the overall mortality rate for people aged 15-59 who were diagnosed early was, for the first time, equal to that of the general population for the same age group. Therefore it is essential that people get treatment. 

We have clients who use the Soup Kitchen with HIV who are not receiving any treatment.  Many people do not attend appointments or try to access help. Gaining trust over time to establish relationships with our clients is important. Helping and encouraging people to engage is paramount. Regular appointments is essential but also education to help encourage a person to take their medication to keep them well is also very important.  However people have a choice. If they choose not to access help and they are not ready to engage, we will stay in touch and not judge and wait until they are ready.

HIV and more commonly Hep C often go undiagnosed.  A persons body will eventually either deal with the Hep C virus itself or with treatment it is curable, unfortunately the damage to liver can be significant before diagnosis takes place. Many clients who come into the Soup Kitchen have Hep C. We always take precautions to keep ourselves safe and have rigorous cleaning and hygiene procedures.  We always have to assume that whomever we are dealing with may have an Infectious Disease and that there is a significant risk so all volunteers are trained to take precautions accordingly.

First Aid Knowledge Required

We always have a First Aid trained Volunteer on shift. We would like to recruit another person to work with that team. Occasionally First Aid requirements in a session can be challenging so we would prefer two Volunteers on each session. A weekly or bi-weekly very experience volunteer with previous medical and first aid knowledge would be required:

  • Assessing a casualty
  • Monitoring a casualty 
  • Choking 
  • Breathing
  • Bleeding and Burns
  • Shock
  • Drug related & Overdose Treatment 
  • Medical emergency 
  • Injury to bone
  • Head injury
  • Control of Substance Hazardous to Health (COSHH)
  • Mental Health Experience
  • Accident recording and reporting
  • Extra training can be given
  • DBS Enhanced checks for Vulnerable Adults required (we can help you apply for this).

Please email:  volunteer@newburysoupkitchen.org.uk

Our Happy Place

Watching 49 people plus the volunteers, laughing, joking, eating lots of food, playing chess and generally having a good time was lovely to see. Compassion, patience and time is all that is needed to support people towards a better future. Often at their pace, but holding their hand, working with other agencies it shows situations can improve for people. Slower for some than others, baby steps and very small successes for some but we see those successes.

It’s a great place to be. “It’s our happy place”. As always, we are in need of your help and support, please see our Amazon Wishlist and our how to donate page. We are so grateful for the ongoing support from our local community

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The Newbury Soup Kitchen is division of the Haven (West Berkshire) homeless charity. Charity Number 1179298.
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