We started the year with two large marquees on our car park. As we weren’t allowed to feed people in our premises [neither were they allowed to eat in the marquees, despite seating being socially distanced] we packaged food for them to take away. Not what anyone wanted, or understood why, but then we didn’t make the rules.
In January I wrote to Duncan Selbie, CEO of Public Health England, and made the case for my colleagues to be vaccinated months sooner than they might ordinarily expect. Granted, we aren’t NHS, but we’re definitely ‘front line’. He agreed and we were vaccinated 2 weeks later.
Flushed with success, we then wrote to the Minister for Vaccinations, who wasn’t as forthcoming as we might have hoped. We wanted to ensure that the homeless people we meet were considered to be vulnerable and therefore a priority for vaccinations. Philip Davies MP was most helpful in guiding us in the right direction, as was Professor Anthony Harnden, Vice Chairman of JCVI [Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation], who gave us invaluable information. Ten days later and HM Government did a U-Turn and the homeless could be vaccinated.
I’m hoping we weren’t the only ones to apply pressure.
A few months later, after lockdown was lifted [although we were allowed to keep going through lockdown – thanks to West Yorkshire Police for their support] our marquees were taken down – and Robert Morphet of West Bradford Rotary agreed to store them in case we might need them in the future.
We are pleased to note that Nisbets, the catering equipment suppliers, have now opened a store in Wakefield Road. Although their products are definitely not cheap, they are of excellent quality. We wish them, and their manager, Aaron well for the future.
Morrisons Supermarkets have been supplying us with good quality fruit as well as enabling us to take advantage of any occasional ‘deals’ as and when they might present themselves. Drew Brady, clothes manufacturers in Bolton, Lancashire have provided us with much-needed garments; and local confectioners, The Sweetie People of Wyke, Bradford have also been very generous.
Our annual Sox ‘n’ Chox appeal has been extended to include hats, gloves and scarves. Indications are promising and we hope to give out more than ever this year.
Allergens is the current buzzword for Environmental Health [the people who make sure we don’t poison those we feed and ensure ‘good practice’ is carried out by us all on our Soup Runs]. We have to ask everyone if they have any allergies, then ensure that what we offer will not do them harm. Fairly common sense and relatively easy. Yes, well, it would be if everyone spoke English… The vast majority of those we feed do speak English and, fortunately for all concerned, there is sufficient camaraderie among the ranks for help to be offered and accepted, although there was one occasion when we needed the help from Embassy personnel to translate. It worked.
There was one instance which did take us by surprise. Someone waiting outside our premises fell down the steps, banged his head on the floor and didn’t seem to be breathing. Floodlights on and we assessed the situation, dialled 999 and [eventually] got through to Ambulance personnel.
What’s his name? Don’t know.
What’s his address? Don’t know – he probably doesn’t have one.
How old is he? About 40.
Is he breathing? I don’t think so.
Have you ever done CPR? No.
Don’t worry, I’ll talk you through it… And so he did.
After what seemed an age, four Policemen came running and they took over. They were closely followed by a First Responder and then two ambulances. The chap survived.
We’re considering buying a defibrillator [not cheap] and a course on how to use it.
- When doing CPR, I’m advised that singing the BeeGees hit of ‘Staying Alive’ isn’t as good as ‘Nellie the Elephant’ [useful info in case it happens again]!
Thank you for your continued support. My excellent team and I hope you have a good Christmas and a healthy and prosperous 2022.