You win some……


A tough one on the soup kitchen tonight.
It had been going so well for so long……
We work really hard at getting to know our service users and to be honest it is a very sociable evening with lots of chat and laughs as we catch up with people. There is a real sense of camaraderie between groups of our service users and they look out for each other.
So many stories to tell and no doubt shared history that I often wish I had more than an hour with them.
We see lots of people on the soup kitchen but there has been a bit of a swell in numbers again.
When I first started on the soup kitchen all the years ago it took me a wee while to realise that not everyone is what they seem and when people are desperate for food or money they will resort to desperate measures.
I learned that quite often all people wanted was someone who was interested in them, who would listen, who remembered their name and cared. Building up trust with people was a huge thing and we have been able to share in their joys as well support them when they have needed it.
Yet, it only takes for one evening with a bit of a different atmosphere and it feels different.
One of the regulars presented a new service user to me who was very vulnerable. He told me he was just doing his bit, this man often does. He brings the new service users to me to see if we can help. I had a chat with her to see if we could at least get her off the street for the night – sometimes we are lucky and we can get people in for the night. She went off on one and became very abusive and aggressive.She didn’t want to listen and reacted really badly to the offer of help.
Immediately I was assessing as to what I had done wrong,what had I said, what had I missed?
I called street services only to be told that she was known, was not homeless and was generally abusive to anyone who mentioned engaging with support.
Sound familiar?
Turns out she knew where to access help, had a place to stay but had actively decided to disengage.
I admit to being a wee bit relieved. I hate admitting defeat especially when it comes to helping people on my shift.
We then had another two service users get a bit loud and argumentative over something and nothing. Again, things that are not really worth raised voices over become huge. It was de escalated quickly enough but it’s exhausting.
Honestly, it’s like being in school. Refereeing, pacifying, caring, listening, trying your best.
Not always getting it right, but trying.


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