‘You wouldn’t believe people are being treated like this’, says Weston charity
- Credit: Sonya Taylor
A Weston kitchen has urged for more action on helping the homeless and most vulnerable in the community.
Victoria's Kitchen, based at the Methodist Church in Station Road, is a self-funded diner that feeds and supports those going through harsh times, offering free food.
The project has been running from the church for two years and has a regular team of 12 volunteers.
But project leader Sonya Taylor believes the public and police service could do more to help out.
"North Somerset is overwhelmed with the amount of homelessness and vulnerable people," she said. "We can't fight this alone, we need a team.
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"Unfortunately, a lot of the people we help have issues relating to drug use and mental health.
"Food is available - what isn't available is the mental health support."
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Every Thursday from 11.30am-2pm, Sonya and her team serve freshly cooked food, provided by the community, and hand out clothing and toiletries.
The importance of projects such as Victoria's Kitchen became apparent in 2018 when the Office for National Statistics found four homeless people died in North Somerset.
Sonya said: "It's become a full-time job. I've approached the council and police service, but we don't have the resources or facilities in this old seaside town to deal with this, and it seems to be on the rise."
North Somerset Council was granted £75,000 last year by then communities secretary James Brokenshire to help tackle the underlying issue of homelessness in the area.
However, Sonya believes some people are going under the radar because they are not classified as homeless.
"Just because they've got shelter doesn't mean they're not vulnerable. You wouldn't believe human beings are being treated like it.
"We've helped lawyers in bad situations. Some people don't understand why, but these things can happen to anyone. It's somebody's son, somebody's daughter."
To support Victoria's Kitchen, get in contact by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.