New Beginnings Reading
On 14th February, the Community Committee had an opportunity to visit New Beginnings Reading to gain an insight into the work they do and discuss how we can support them in the future. We spoke with Louis, the manager of the organisation, who explained how the charity worked, which helped us develop a better understanding and appreciation of the work that he and his team have put into growing the charity and providing vital aid to many people in our community. The reality and information on the prevalence of homelessness in Reading has inspired us to work towards creating short and long term plans to support the valuable work they do.
We also learnt that homelessness is not just about financial difficulty. Many of the people helped by New Beginnings, struggle with drug abuse and mental health issues, particularly depression. Louis stressed the need this creates to provide mental health services and money, managing support alongside providing food and shelter. He further emphasised the importance of treating homeless people with the same respect you would a friend or family member.
The charity was extremely appreciative of the Shoebox initiative from last December. Students and staff of Kendrick donated seventy-five shoeboxes of toiletries and other essential items like gloves and snacks, etc. These boxes were given to many of Reading’s homeless people during the Christmas period, which provided some relief and comfort in the cold.
We were also introduced to the All-Day Café programme, a place that everyone is welcome for a cup of tea and a friendly chat. Three times a week, homeless people to have access to the facilities provided by the charity throughout the day which is especially useful during the long winter months and cold nights. Moving forwards, the organisation is hoping to open up shower facilities and more importantly, they are working towards a long term goal of having the site open 24/7!
Our visit to the charity has given us ideas on how to raise further awareness of the organisation and homelessness in general, which we hope to action very soon. Most significantly, we learnt that the charity brings hope to the many homeless people of Reading, and the services it provides are a step closer to tackling homelessness within our community.
Community Committee, Kendrick Student Leaders