Providing food six nights a week and a warm and social environment is a great help for many, and for some a lifeline. We know there is a lot more to be done to support people to progress from the need for services like The People’s Kitchen.
“If I could get a job I could stop coming (to The People’s Kitchen)…After my bills and everything I only have £20 left at the end of the month”
“I’d like to come socially, not because I have to”
That’s why Emma is taking the lead on the “Your Futures” project. Here, Emma tells us why she got involved in the project and shares her exciting plans for its development.
“In 2017 I noticed a huge increase in the number of visible homeless people. I didn’t know what I could do to help – I couldn’t afford to donate much to charities, and I was unsure of the best way to help people I saw living on the streets so I looked in to volunteering and came across the People’s Kitchen. I started volunteering on a Sunday morning in February 2018 and have been there ever since!
“Our Friends face many challenges, physical and emotional. The introduction of Universal Credit has left a lot of people with difficulties managing their finances. As winter draws in, the cold and lack of food affects both those on the streets and those who are housed but can’t afford heating. The festive period can also be a challenging period emotionally for those who can no longer speak to the people they were close with.
“For the first phase of the Your Futures project, I plan to build on the highly successful ‘Joined Up Newcastle’ event that Mark our Harm reduction manager arranged earlier this year by contacting organisations that can support our Friends to see how we can work together.
“The project must be led by Friends and volunteers. To this end, I am working with the trustees and the sociology department at Newcastle University to conduct some research on their needs and wants for the future of The People’s Kitchen.
“We will also be arranging a mental health week at the Kitchen early next year with events for both volunteers and Friends with a view to supporting people to learn about organisations who can help with mental health conditions and provide them with some practical skills to help in difficult times.
“I’m really keen to speak with anyone who has ideas that could be incorporated into the project. If you have an idea, know an organisation which might benefit our Friends, or if you would be interested in helping out, get in touch via email@example.com.”