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Newbury Soup Kitchen is back on the streets. And looking for more volunteers to help rough sleepers this winter

Nearly 5,000 meals have been delivered to those in emergency accommodation

John Herring

John Herring


01635 886633

Newbury Soup Kitchen is back on the streets. And looking for more volunteers to help rough sleepers

Newbury Soup Kitchen opened its first weekly sessions for nearly six months last week.

The charity has provided nearly 5,000 meals to people in emergency accommodation on a delivery basis.

But with people now leaving hotels and being housed in more suitable accommodation, the Soup Kitchen said it was time to get back on to the streets.

The charity has had to adapt again since the ‘rule of six’ was introduced on Monday and said it would be “a challenge ensuring people do not gather in groups, especially if they are under the influence of alcohol”.

Takeaway ‘grab bags’ will be provided for people to pick up their food and leave.

Soup Kitchen founder and operations manager Meryl Praill said: “Supermarket donations are down massively and for the first time ever we are having to purchase most of our fresh food for the meals we cook.

“This is unprecedented for us and we know other charities are doing the same.

"Newbury Soup Kitchen has always prided itself on using purely donated food and we work on a ‘Ready Steady Cook’ ethos, always making meals from the sometimes ‘hotch potch’ of food we get.

“It is fun to do and extremely satisfying too. Covid has changed all that for us, shopping habits by the public have changed and less reduced items come our way as it seems they are being snapped up by the public now.

“The only item we always have an abundance of is bread.”

Saturday sessions will also be resuming and the charity is looking for a couple of volunteers for a Saturday willing to drive the transit van.

The charity has updated its Amazon Wishlist, which has items it uses every week for the sessions and items such as tents and sleeping bags that will help support rough sleepers throughout the winter.

Mrs Praill said: “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.” 

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