Norwich Soup Run - Norwich Citadel Salvation Army
The Norwich Soup Run functions every night of the year, with the exception of Christmas day. Based at the Charity Stall at the bottom of the Haymarket (opposite Primark), teams of volunteers serve food and drink to people in need from 8.30pm.
The Soup Run is co-ordinated by the Norwich Citadel Salvation Army and involves 14 different churches on the rota as well as numerous volunteers who approached the Salvation Army directly.
Numbers vary from 30-50 guests each evening, and a range of sandwiches are available, as are cakes, soup, hot chocolate, tea and coffee. This “staple” menu is sometimes reinforced by gifts of fresh fruit and other goodies.
This community initiative is made possible by more than 180 dedicated volunteers. The volunteers are divided into teams which are then responsible for a night of the week. While The Salvation Army’s church on St Giles Street coordinates the project, many local churches host an evening. Some teams prepare their own food but The Salvation Army has a central supply. Regular supporters of The Salvation Army’s Soup Run include Waitrose, the Co-op, Pret a Manger and Greggs.
In addition to food, volunteers offer a listening ear and compassionate support as well as warm clothing, footwear, sleeping bags and blankets as they are available.
Major Barry Willson, The Salvation Army’s Soup Run Volunteer Co-ordinator, said: “The Soup Run is a great example of local people working together to support local people in need. Our guests have a variety of needs – some may be experiencing homelessness, some may be sleeping rough, while others may be living in accommodation but struggling to make ends meet.
“Our volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds – some belong to a local church, others do not. Anyone is welcome to volunteer, although we do have a short waiting list. If you’d like to see how you can support our work we’d love to hear from you.”
There are close links between this evening provision and The Salvation Army’s week day Pottergate Advice and Refreshment Centre (ARC). The ARC is a drop-in centre which supports people in need by facilitating engagement with appropriate services and learning activities. Both the ARC and the Soup Run are members of the “MARS” group (Multi-Agency Rough Sleepers). This group meets monthly and consists of representatives from both the voluntary and statutory sector who work together to respond to local homelessness.
Project: Norwich Soup Run
Who: homeless and local people in need
What: Soup, sandwiches, cakes and hot drinks served every day
Where: Haymarket, Norwich
How many: 30 – 50 people every night (1,200 per month)
Contact: Major Barry Willson 0774 959 0013 or firstname.lastname@example.org