Hungry for change: Edinburgh students open soup kitchen with a difference

The Refugee Community Kitchen is open every Tuesday from 12-2 pm. (Credit: EN4 News)

 

A group of Edinburgh University students have opened the city’s first Refugee Community Kitchen (RCK).

The weekly event, held inside the university’s on-campus chaplaincy, offers bowls of vegan soup and aims to provide the city’s refugees and those who are homeless a place to gather with the wider community.

“We decided to start the event originally as a part of a module we had in our business course to host an event, but we wanted it to be more meaningful than a one-off random event,” leading member Ella O’Reilly told EN4 News.

“While researching we came across RCK, it just really resonated with us all and here we are.

“It’s only our second week in doing this but it’s nice, it feels like we have a cute, wee growing community.”

Any money raised is put directly back into the core of Refugee Community Kitchen (RCK), giving more money and resources to other areas where the charity is based.

RCK has been serving food since 2015, starting off in Calais, France, but now reaching areas all across the globe.

The charity’s largest bases are found in Northern France and London.

Steve Bedlam, RCK co-founder, says:

“Not only do they [the charity] provide displaced or homeless people with hot meals, but they also give them a place to gather and connect.”

Edinburgh has a homeless population over over 3,000 people, while the city has welcomed more than 300 Syrian refugees since 2014,

To get involved in Edinburgh’s Refugee Community Kitchen head over to Edinburgh Universities Chaplaincy on a Tuesday between 12-2 pm.

Homeless ex-soldier dies on Edinburgh’s streets

Darren Greenfield at his usual spot outside Waverley Station

A homeless former soldier, Darren Greenfield, 47, has passed away, sparking outrage amongst veterans and campaigners.

Darren Greenfield served with the Royal Tank Regiment but fell on hard times after leaving the army.

Many Edinburgh residents saw the veteran on a daily basis, sat at his post outside Waverley Station with a cardboard sign. It read simply, ‘Soldier in need please help, thank you, God Bless’.

His death has been described as a tragedy by his friends with some revealing that they had tried to reach out to offer support before he was admitted to hospital where he passed away.

EN4 News spoke with local man, David Ronney who saw Mr. Greenfield regularly.

“Darren used to come into my work at the Waverley Mall every morning or afternoon I was in. He would come in to order a hot chocolate and even though he would always have the money to pay for his drink, many of us would cover the charge for him. He was always grateful for this and would say “god bless” with the biggest smile on his face.”

I can say he was one of the most polite and lovely customers I’ve had the opportunity to interact with. He would always strike a conversation with whoever was working and had a genuine interest for what they had to say as did we all for Darren.”

The support group, Soldier’s Off the Street also commented through Facebook that Darren had “refused help from Soldiers off the Street, SSAFA and others tried helping him but we think the streets was his only way of living and copping with life.”

Studies have shown that veterans are 10 percent more likely to be homeless in Scotland than in the rest of the UK.

Homeless charity Shelter commented:

“It is not uncommon for service users to have left the armed forces many years ago and have had a chequered history of trying to integrate into civilian life.”

“They may have initially returned to the family home on release from the forces but have suffered relationship breakdown and consequently homelessness. Some have ended up living on the streets and have taken many years to approach anyone for help.”

If you or someone you know is suffering from homelessness you can contact Streetwork @

South Bridge
18 South Bridge
Edinburgh EH1 1LL
Tel: 0131 344 0825
Holyrood Hub
22 Holyrood Road
Edinburgh EH8 8AF
Tel: 0131 557 6055
Freephone: 0808 178 2323

 

Edinburgh man’s effort to help the homeless this Christmas

This is the fourth year that Edinburgh man Jason Scott will be helping our homeless on Christmas Eve.

Each year, he takes donations from the public to make hampers containing food and items of clothing to distribute to those sleeping rough the night before Christmas.

Jason is hopeful that in the upcoming years there will be a massive decrease of people sleeping on the streets.

Jason, 27, first started this act of kindness in 2013, after a family grievance inspired him to give back to the less fortunate.

He said: “I’ve witnessed people sleeping in graveyards and rough on the streets. Four years ago I took to social media and asked everyone for donations. It was a massive success the first year and we just continued to do it.”

Having previously volunteered in homeless kitchens and soup drives, he knew the extent of the Capital’s homeless epidemic and wished to help more. Mr Scott estimates he has helped around 350 people over the three years.

He said: “People are so thankful and so happy to receive these things. It’s quite a shame because I get back in the car and they’re already in the bag eating, so they are hungry.”

This year he will hand out hot soup in flasks, along with the mini-hampers.

Helping Edinburgh’s homeless has been a popular topic these past few months, with charity Social Bite’s massive fundraising event ‘Sleep in the Park‘ having already raised over £2 million.

Shelter Scotland estimates around 5,000 people in Scotland sleep rough.

Jason is amongst many who are helping on a smaller scale, showing that a little help can go a long way.

The volunteer said: “I’m not a charity, I just want to give something back.

“I don’t do this sort of thing so people give me credit and give me thanks, I do it because I want to see other people happy. I don’t do it for the credibility factor.”

If you would like to donate items or help Jason, you can contact him via his Facebook or email him at jasonpscott28@icloud.com.


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Sir Bob Geldof set to sleep rough in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is hosting the worlds largest sleep out on 9th December in an attempt to eradicate homelessness, with stars such as Liam Gallagher and Sir Bob Geldof set to attend.

 

An estimated 307,000 people are recorded as homeless in the UK, according to Shelter Scotland

 

Every 18 minutes a household in Scotland is assessed as homeless. According to research by the charity ‘Shelter,’ it is estimated that over 5,000 people are sleeping rough every year in Scotland, and every morning 5,000 children wake up without a home of their own.

 

Source: Social Bite Facebook

 

With the Scottish Government stating that there are currently over 10,000 households in temporary accommodation, the local Edinburgh based company, ‘Social Bite’, are facing the problem head on and have organised ‘Sleep in the Park’, a mass sleep out to attempt to end homelessness for good.

 

Over 9,000 people will sleep in Princes Street Gardens on the night of the event.

 

The sandwich shop, based in the capital, described themselves as a social business, which sets out goals to achieve objectives, rather than being profit driven.

 

‘Sleep in the Park’ will be their largest project yet, and will be the world’s largest sleep out, with some big names sleeping rough for the night. On the 9th December, celebrities such as Bob Geldof, Liam Gallagher and John Cleese will appear at the event in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh to support the cause – through performing, reading a bedtime story and joining the crowds in spending the night in the cold. Sir Bob Geldof said:

 

“When we launched Live Aid in 1985, it showed the power of music and events to create real and important social change. I first met Josh and Alice from Social Bite 5 years ago and I am delighted to support them and their effort to eradicate homelessness in Scotland by sleeping out in the cold at the event.”

 

Sir Bob Geldof will be sleeping rough on 9th December.

Event organiser, Josh Littlejohn, who said:

 

“By taking part in Sleep in the Park, you will be joining a movement to end homelessness in Scotland for good. We believe by working together, homelessness could be eradicated in Scotland within five years.”

 

The event has already raised nearly £2 million and has a fundraising target of £4 million by the time of the sleep out.

 

If you would like more information, or wish to get involved in the ‘Sleep in the Park’, you can visit their website or Facebook.

 

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