The goal of Hounslow Soup Kitchen is to enable individuals to strengthen their individual capacities by being an active member of the society they live in. We plan to do this under the following umbrella of services:
1) Advocacy: Liaison with benefit services, local authorities and job opportunities/ recruitment services to define a clear route into long term housing and benefits.
2) Medical: Access to medical care as well as health and wellness sessions.
3) Personal Care: Haircuts, threading, essential items, toiletries and a mobile shower facility.
4) Clothes Bank: A space to wash dirty clothes and stock up on new ones, sock/underwear bank.
5) Food Bank: A service that provides health conscious hot/cold meals as well as warm drinks.
This is an ambitious task and we're keeping the words of inspiration Elon Musk at the fore: "If something is important enough for you, even if the probable outcome if failure, you must try."
So we started by setting up a soup kitchen at a local community centre on Benson Estate, Hounslow. The team at We Are One allowed us to use the premises for two weeks after which we served food at a local squat for the rest of the month.
We’ve realised a few salient things during this project:
There are a wealth of homeless services already providing food, access routes into housing, benefits and alcohol and drug rehabilitation services in the borough.
The homeless in Hounslow are generally getting the help they need, however there are many who are addicted to hard drugs.
There are a few homeless individuals who are highly visible and give homeless people a bad name. Some aren’t even homeless, but suffer from mental health issues.
Our resources are beginning to stretch and are better utilised working with already established services, or to revamp the project towards a new model.
After we took some time to think about the next steps, we decided on the following:
To provide seasonal practical help. For example, when a cold snap hits, ensuring the homeless are all indoors somewhere and are warm throughout the day.
To create a pamphlet of homeless services that has all the information a homeless person could possibly need- on what day to access which service in what location of the borough.
To provide some hope and support for the homeless by a “Beggars to Buskers” project.