Glasgow businesses and charities launch The Winter Kitchen

Multiple groups from across Glasgow have joined forces to launch The Winter Kitchen to ensure that homeless and vulnerable individuals have access to food, shelter and health and care support throughout the winter.

Members of the Winter Kitchen team

In a fantastic example of the power of partnership working, a group of charities, businesses and benevolent individuals have collaborated to create The Winter Kitchen, a pop-up soup kitchen in the heart of the city.

Located on Dixon Street, The Winter Kitchen is already proving popular, with 145 visitors, six onward referrals and three injection equipment kits supplied in its first week. This is due in part to its central location.

Anticipating this, the team reached out to partners from across the city. This means that any vulnerable individuals looking to begin their recovery journey can be signposted towards longer-term support opportunities that work for them.

Where night shelters, churches and hostels already offer vital services in the evenings, during the daytime there is little on offer for those in need. Whether it’s short term help (food, clothing, medical attention) or longer-term support (signposting to recovery communities/services across the city), The Winter Kitchen will plug that gap until late March, but the charity is appealing for help.

Members of the team at The Winter Kitchen

Several charities have come forward to offer food, clothing and staff time with nurses from the NHS on hand to provide support to individuals with health issues. Local businesses have also made vital contributions: landlords Ramage Young offered the premises for peppercorn rate; local construction and property company McAleer & Rushe made soup and offered their tradesmen services for free to help get the space ready.

Biba Brand, regional manager, The Mungo Foundation, said: ‘We wanted to give people a warm, welcoming place during the day, when other soup kitchens are closed. It’s unfortunate that the city needs another soup kitchen, but there’s a visible gap, and we all wanted to help.

“The response has been fantastic, not just from the named partner organisations, but from the people of Glasgow as well. We’ve had tons of donations, and employees from other organisations, like Turning Point Scotland and Waverley Care have also been turning up regularly to contribute their time and expertise.”

John McCann, Scottish Community Recovery Network, added: “I like to call it collaborative leadership where no one organisation takes the credit. We put the invite out to partners in the city who helped support this; planning was coordinated without too much hassle and bureaucracy.

“I think on a personal level that we are meeting the needs of people who are being missed and are not involved in services. People get a warm welcome and a friendly face – they’re made to feel included not excluded, and it really shows me what can be done in a short space of time when people work together. The opposite of addiction is connection, that’s what works well and is on offer in this set up.”

Louise Stewart, Addaction, said: “We’re delighted to be part of The Winter Kitchen. It’s a new project for all of us and is a great chance to pool our resources and reach out to people in Glasgow city centre - particularly those affected by homelessness. Not only is The Winter Kitchen letting us distribute food and supplies, but it’s offering a social setting and a chance for us to link people to services we knew will benefit them.”

“Word is spreading so quickly and people’s generosity has been amazing. Local businesses, office staff and nearby construction workers have been asking what we’re doing and then chipping in with supplies. It’s lovely to see that.”

Gillian Ferguson of Glasgow’s Alcohol and Drug Partnership, commented: “We are delighted to support The Winter Kitchen and to work alongside the Mungo Foundation to offer harm reduction advice and support to vulnerable people with complex needs who are attending.”

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