By Charlotte, Camrose Support Worker
Did you know there were over a quarter of a million (253,620) homeless people living in temporary accommodation in England during the first national lockdown. This works out at an estimated 1 in 222 people. This number is the highest it’s been in fourteen years (Ref: Shelter’s December 2020 report; Homeless and Forgotten: Surviving lockdown in temporary accommodation*).
Here at Camrose we are supporting a number of clients in temporary accommodation. The number has increased week on week. Their gender and age varies. Whilst clients have a room; the amenities are limited to a kettle and bathroom. They have no cooking facilities or access to wash their clothes. A current Camrose client who was in a hotel for several months described this experience as “one of the most difficult times of my life”. When asked what it was like not having a daily hot meal and access to washing his clothes he said he felt “inhuman and demoralized”. Shelter’s report mentioned earlier nearly all of the interviewees reported that their mental health had been negatively affected.
Over the last few weeks, meals supplied by our team have been created with love and happiness. Leo, our volunteer chef, has food creativity and his passion for food comes out in the smells that wafts through to the office. They have created stews and casseroles; pasta dishes and curries. Jen’s enthusiasm for making sweet desserts hasn’t wavered; her cheesecakes are legendary. We have also been putting together snack packs and weekly sending out toiletries, underwear and any other ancillary items we think could be used. All of these have been really gratefully received.
Since joining Camrose in September last year I have been amazed at the versatility of this service and the people that make it run. We have gone from providing a full service prior to lockdown, to a Covid safe service and now to providing meals for those in temporary accommodation. The commitment of the volunteers helping to make meals, shopping for the ingredients and coming up with tasty and varied menus is admirable to say the least.
I’ll end with a quote which is attributed to Mother Teresa; “It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving”. I’m proud to say I can see that happening here at Camrose. People giving food, made with love and delivered with joy.
*Shelter report December 2020: https://england.shelter.org.uk/_