Letchworth businessman opens soup kitchen in Stevenage

PUBLISHED: 16:08 05 April 2019 | UPDATED: 16:18 05 April 2019

Cutting ribbon, left to right; Mayoress Cllr. Laurie Chester,  Daniel Allen, mayor of Stevenage Cllr. Margaret Notley, Shane Cole, Rev. Chris Bunce and Rev. Jacky Page. Picture: Alan Millard

Cutting ribbon, left to right; Mayoress Cllr. Laurie Chester, Daniel Allen, mayor of Stevenage Cllr. Margaret Notley, Shane Cole, Rev. Chris Bunce and Rev. Jacky Page. Picture: Alan Millard

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A new soup kitchen for homeless people in Stevenage was opened on Tuesday by homeless outreach team, Feed Up Warm Up.

Father and son Mark and Ian enjoying meal. Picture Alan MillardFather and son Mark and Ian enjoying meal. Picture Alan Millard

Every Tuesday from 6pm to 8.30pm at the St. George and St. Andrew Church homeless people will be able to receive much needed care and help for free.

The soup kitchen – opened by Stevenage mayor Margaret Notley – provides free hair cuts, hot food, drinks, clothing, mental health care and more to those in need.

Helping the homeless is a cause close to project manager Shane Cole’s heart, who found himself homeless at the age of 17.

“Homeless people feel they have no one that cares and if we make even one person happy for even a small period of time then we have accomplished what we set out to do,” said Shane.

Hot food was supplied by Misya Meze & Grill. Left to right: Christene Bozwood-Davies, Daniel Allen, Isa Demir, Nigel Bozwood-Davies, and Gundoz Kurt. Picture Alan MillardHot food was supplied by Misya Meze & Grill. Left to right: Christene Bozwood-Davies, Daniel Allen, Isa Demir, Nigel Bozwood-Davies, and Gundoz Kurt. Picture Alan Millard

“They leave with a feeling that they’re cared for and that’s what it’s about.”

Shane opened his first soup kitchen in Hitchin before Christmas, and the decision to follow suit in Stevenage came after noticing the number of homeless people in the town.

“We started our drop-in service in Hitchin, but still did weekly homeless outreach in Stevenage and noticed a bigger problem than we faced in Hitchin,” he said.

The work done by Feed Up Warm Up in Hitchin has already made a notable difference to many homeless people, with Shane telling the Comet that it has helped four people with drink and drug addictions.

Mayor, mayoress and mayor elect enjoying meal. Picture Alan MillardMayor, mayoress and mayor elect enjoying meal. Picture Alan Millard

“We are seeing a change in clients attitude to life,” said Shane.

Though having only just finished opening one soup kitchen, Shane is eager to carry on. He said: “We have been contacted by various towns councils and we are looking into the possibility of opening a new one in another Hertfordshire town in the future.”

Local companies have been supporting Feed Up Warm Up by providing free hot food and hair cuts, but the group is always in need of support and donations. Priorities are men’s and women’s clothing, toiletries, tents, sleeping bags, money, business sponsors and a van.

Feed Up Warm Up will be opening a unique pop-up shop in Letchworth in May for six weeks to raise funds for future projects. Food, toiletries, clothing and anything else that has been donated will be up for sale on a pay as you feel basis.

To find out more visit facebook.com/feedupwarmup.

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