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Bristol Soup Run Trust - Helping Homeless People on the Streets of Bristol

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Note from BSRT Secretary: this website is severely out-of-date. We will address as soon as possible.

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As regards donations and supplies, we had a wonderful Christmas this year. It seems the recession and its effects on the homeless/deprived have really got through to the general public. Enough cans of soup for numbers of our teams, as well as sandwich ingredients, coffee, tea, toiletries, chocolate and of course money. The charity phone was continually ringing! That spell of bad weather before Christmas was a spur. We were able to send a letter to the Evening Post expressing out gratitude for all of this. In addition Caring at Christmas kindly gave us their surplus supplies.

Numbers of people served have significantly grown, as well as a notable change in their composition stemming from Eastern Europe. The recession here would appear to be the main cause. Many Polish are not going home for the same reason. Squatting has reappeared as well and 'surfing', people sleeping in others premises, has intensified. We continue to point clients to the more varied services available in day centres. The main one is the Compass Centre in Jamaica Street, where 'after assessment'; accommodation, health and addiction issues are met. These services are also offered to some extent by other centres and the Julian Trust. It is all too easy to assume that those we meet are aware of these facilities, so we should endeavour to offer advice where possible.

As of now every night is still covered. We welcomed the Severnside Grapevine Church to another night slot. Also the young people who took over '1B' from the Catholic Faith and Justice in the Community at 1b Sydenham Road. Pip 'n' Jay and Carmel continue their great commitment of doing every Friday and Tuesday night of the year. The Soup Run really began at the Pip 'n' Jay, and we remember the loss of their vicar Canon Widdecombe. Also the passing of Meg Grimes, who did a great work at the Julian Trust Night Shelter.

The bi-monthly meeting of the organisation continues. We have had some successful and useful get-togethers, not just 'talking shops'. This last year one of our volunteers, who also works with the Bristol Drugs Project, gave an interesting talk. In September of this year we hope to have talks from two key personnel from the Compass Centre, one representing St. Mungos which runs it and the other from Outreach, the government/council operation for the homeless.

The flow of volunteers who want to help on the nights continues. Unfortunately we cannot accommodate them all as teams already established tend to remain constant in composition.

In September of 2011 we hope again to have our barbecue for the clients and volunteers alike, in the church grounds of the Pip 'n' Jay. This is a genuine attempt to mix, socialise and give our regular nightly friends more in the form of entertainment... a pop song group, hot food, a bookstall etc. And there will be more time for real conversation, also this year we are lucky to have the services of The Ambling Band, who really interact with their listeners. Some of us really let our hair down and dance together!

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