We had 35 clients in this evening some were cold, drunk, sad, beaten, abused, ill and generally cheeky!
The night was a mixed bag of emotions. Members of the public turned up in their droves offering clothes and food. Many companies such as Vodafone and schools that had collected item of tinned food, chocolates and toiletries.
We are so overwhelmed by people’s generosity and thought at this time of year which can be so difficult for some. As a result we have no space available for clothes donations so they can be given to Loose Ends or charity now as are space is bulging. Now we have storage offered by Greenham Trust which is so kind.
We had many people with complex issues this evening as a result myself and a couple of volunteers did not get the quality time with many of our regulars as time was spent on the phone or trying to sort out important issues.
Every week we start our session knowing that will do our upmost to face and deal with any challenge that come our way. At the end of the session we had an incident whereby somebody who had not been in the Soup Kitchen tried to take their own life outside. It was incredibly stressful for everyone concerned but the Blue light services were amazing and acting very quickly.
This unfortunately was the end of a busy, challenging session that we had control of beautifully. I think we made some very sad people much happier thus evening.
We learned again tonight the lack of “out of hours” mental health support. For every scenario we are directed to the police who are already pushed to the limit. It is encouraging that locally we are starting to get people talking to see if our mental health support can be improved.
I had to ask a lot of some of my wonderful volunteers tonight and for that I am sorry. Again nothing tangible is in place for us to allow us to do our job effectively. I will keep fighting and standing up for what I think these vulnerable people need and deserve.
One of our homeless chaps who is one of our more challenging clients came up to me tonight and said “Thank you for everything you do”. Hearing someone say that, especially someone who is known to be a handful at times makes everything we struggle to do worthwhile.
I know when I got home I was shattered! You are all amazing, you made me proud tonight.