Soup kitchen to serve up new year cheer
A SOUP kitchen is being started in Wells to help feed homeless people in the evening and give them somewhere warm to spend a couple of hours.
They will be able to watch television, there will be board games available, and gloves, scarves and care packages will be handed out.
An anonymous donor has already given £1,000 to the chair of the Wells Evening Soup Kitchen organisers, Sue Ali, to get the initiative started.
Georgie Robbins, the owner of Daniels Cafe in Queen Street, has said that the weekly sessions can be held in her cafe.
“We’re all very excited to get this started as soon as possible,” said Sue.
“We will provide hot meals – these will mostly be donated as we’ve received so many messages offering help.
“We will have a TV and board games. They’ll have a nice warm place where they can sit down at a table and eat, and if they want company, they’ll have it on tap.”
Another idea is to hand out torches and batteries so that people can take advantage of the book swap in the cafe and have something to do when they are on their own at night.
Helping Sue with the scheme as well as Georgie (who is co-chair/location champion) are Karen Dickson (secretary/fundraising champion); Lesley Harris (volunteer co-ordinator/PR champion); Michelle Rossiter (pay it forward champion) and Kate Ford (treasurer/collection champion).
Sue’s partner André Wintersgill, the well-known local chef who runs Andrés Kitchen with Sue, is also going to get involved, ensuring that there will be nutritious food available. For every customer of Andrés Kitchen, André and Sue will also donate 10p for each set of meals purchased on a weekly basis.
Sue hopes that volunteers will be available at the soup kitchen to provide help and advice, and she is investigating whether the scheme can be extended to other nearby towns, so that there are soup kitchens running in the area three times a week.
Daniels Cafe has started a ‘pay it forward’ scheme where vouchers can be bought and handed out to people in need, which will provide them with a drink, a sandwich and a snack.
“Daniels are proud to be part of such an important community initiative,” said Georgie.
For more information or to offer to help, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The scheme is designed to complement the work carried out with the homeless by the Wells Elim Connect Centre.
The centre runs drop-ins in Wells on Mondays, 9am-11am (breakfast); Wednesdays, noon to 2pm (community lunch); and Fridays, 3pm-5pm (soup).
Suzanne Addicott, head of the outreach team, said: “We specialise in providing immediate and wide-ranging support, from housing to health, for anyone who finds themselves, or is reported to be, sleeping rough.
“We work closely with other local support agencies and professionals to support individuals sleeping rough off the streets as quickly as possible. At any one time we will know who is out there and be working assertively to address the issues that have caused their homelessness.”
Rough sleepers can be directed to one of the drop-ins, or the centre can be contacted on 01749 677097. Over the winter the centre will be running an emergency provision for those rough sleeping in Mendip.