On the 22rd of March BlindEye carried out what was going to be the last Sunday morning soup run for a while. We took measures to ensure the safety of our volunteers as well as the service users that we met following the social distance rule and cutting out all non-essential items and only providing food and drinks. https://www.facebook.com/1542504995866210/posts/3066827296767298/?d=n
The following day, Boris Johnson announced to the nation, “stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives”. This was the turning point for us, BlindEye soup run was no longer active and like many of the support systems, we now were forced to find their place in this battle.
Plans were starting to take shape between the council and Framework to get the rough sleepers off the streets and help them self-isolate and prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The task of getting those off the streets and into accommodation has never been easy, many of the people have been on the streets for years and the outdoors to them is home.
Thanks to council meetings, many of the groups that offer free food were already speaking to each other about this situation and those who were able to support decided to join the efforts by providing food deliveries to the hotels.
The Arches Soup Run, BlindEye, the Eat team, Guru Nanaks mission S.A.F.E, the friary and Tracys street kitchen all came together to support the efforts by dropping of hot food for the evenings and cold food for lunches. Working together, helping each other out with supplies and collaborating to keep costs down.
Toiletries, porridge pots and pot noodles have also recently been included in the supplies.
Other organization joined in and supported us, the student Souprunners who were unable to continue, offered financial support. Mesopotamia café in Basford, Sewa Day helped with food donations and between us supplies were being passed around.
Not everyone that stays at the hotel will manage to see this through to the end but there is hope that those who have engaged with the support on offer will continue their journey into a more permanent accommodation.
Lockdown has been extended a further 3 weeks and our work will continue while there is a need for it. At the end of the extension we will do another updated blog on the situation.