Ealing Soup Kitchen supports vulnerable people
This article by Smriti Gopal is from our latest newsletter:
Street drinking, homelessness and vulnerable people in and around Dean Gardens and the rest of West Ealing are a cause for concern to the local community. Meanwhile, nearby, the Ealing Soup Kitchen and St. John’s Church, both, on Mattock Lane have been and still currently provide support to the vulnerable people in hope that at least some of these people will be encouraged to have a better lifestyle.
On Wednesday 8th June 2016, West Ealing Neighbours (WEN) met up and talked to Ealing Soup Kitchen’s, Homeless Support Worker, Andrew Mcleay, to find out more about how the Ealing Soup Kitchen and St. John’s Church help the vulnerable people in West Ealing. Mcleay said: “Initially Ealing Soup Kitchen started to give out food from The Church Room in St. John’s Gardens. In the beginning, St. John’s primarily served soup for about 30 years. 10 years ago, Ealing Soup Kitchen decided to set up a Drop In Centre, in St. John’s Church, where we provide sleeping bags, council support, housing and benefit support and free haircuts and free clothes.”
Mcleay elaborated on street drinking, homeless and vulnerable people and the support offered by the Ealing Soup Kitchen for this community. He told us that approximately 80% of their clients do drink. Sometimes the reason for street drinking is homelessness and their adverse circumstances. If the homeless don’t have a social network and are mixing with others with similar circumstances, they are likely to get into a habit of consuming alcohol excessively. A significant number of these people hang out in Dean Gardens. So Ealing Soup Kitchen has also set up an Ealing Evening Hub from 7-9pm on Mondays to encourage street drinkers to give up drinking and get involved in more positive activities here, where they are not allowed to drink alcohol.
In addition to helping vulnerable people getting off the streets, Ealing Soup Kitchen also works with some of the associations and organisations to support these people. Mcleay said: “We work with an association called, Recovery & Intervention Service Ealing (RISE). RISE provide a lot of intervention and recovery to people who are suffering from being addicted to alcohol. RISE comes to the Ealing Soup Kitchen and helps these people with all that they are going through. We also want to help to sort out people’s situations and try to improve their lifestyle both holistically and physically.”
Some of these vulnerable people feel very open to talk about their situations while others may not like to reveal. These people might feel afraid to disclose their circumstances. Mcleay revealed what impact, the Ealing Soup Kitchen has had on vulnerable people who have been supported. He said: “There are a significant number of success stories that we have had. One of these vulnerable people is, Alan Simpson who is our trustee. Simpson was our client for four years. He was living on the streets. We managed to get him housed in a property in South Ealing. As a result of his thankfulness Simpson came on board and he networked with us. He’s one of the rarest homeless people I’ve met, in the sense that he drinks in moderation. Simpson feels he doesn’t need to have an alcoholic drink or get involved in drugs. He smokes. It’s rare to be on the streets for so long and not have a mental health problem, drinking problem or drug problem. These are the three things one can be prone to while living on the streets. Living on the streets can be a toxic lifestyle, sometimes.” One of the reasons why some of these new initiatives have been set up is to try to improve the lifestyle of vulnerable people, the local residential area and surrounding areas in West Ealing.