Homeless charity marks successful first year
- Credit: Eleanor Young
A Weston homeless charity which has provided more than 2,000 meals to rough sleepers has celebrated its first birthday.
Victoria’s Kitchen, based in the Victoria Methodist Church in Station Road, opened in October last year to fill a gap on Thursdays left behind after the closure of the King’s Table group.
Since opening, the charity has served up 2,417 meals to date and has more than 10 volunteers lending a helping hand each week to feed upwards of 40 guests who are either vulnerable, homeless or sofa surfing.
The programme has grown from strength to strength with Key Steps, the community nurses, health trainers and homeless outreach workers also offering support to some of Weston’s most vulnerable people.
The likes of Asda, Pykes, Tesco, Greggs and Quicks have also supported the charity.
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Project leader Pat Cocking said: “We have noticed an increase in homelessness, due to a variety of reasons, but we feel the problems with Universal Credit have not helped the situation, not just in Weston but throughout the country.
“We feel our project is here to ‘care for all’ which is what our logo states.
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“We not only care for those without a roof but being there for the lonely, vulnerable, physically or mentally unwell.”
The team at Victoria’s Kitchen has welcomed councillors and Weston MP John Penrose to show them how it has become a part of the town’s support network.
But for Pat this was not enough, at the charity’s birthday party she announced plans to release a homeless kit for both men and women.
She said: “It will be full of essentials to hopefully make life a bit more bearable – these will cost a total of about £15 each.
“The waterproof bags have been supplied by The T-Shirt Shop, at a much reduced price, and is filled with everything from socks and a warm hat and scarf to toiletries.
“It is hoped, in the future, homelessness in Weston will be in decline as the town’s night assessment centre is launched.
“However we are aware there will always be a need for a Victoria’s Kitchen with all the love and one-to-one care it continues to offer.”
The kitchen is open every Thursday from 11.30am for food and access to vital services.