Words from Alex Brown, Director, The Soup KitchenOne of the things that really stood out to me when I took over as Director in 2017 was the staggering number of our homeless friends struggling with their mental health. Indeed, according to many studies, as many as 80% of rough sleepers suffer from some form of mental health illness. When you understand that, it becomes easier to understand why it’s so difficult for many people who have become homeless to return to a more ‘normal’ living situation.
We decided to launch what would eventually become Europe’s very first drop-in mental health clinic within a soup kitchen. We aimed to address some of the core issues of homelessness and give our friends the ability and the confidence to change their circumstances by offering comprehensive mental health support. We recruited Dr Brett Grellier and his team from BGPS (Brett Grellier Psychology Services) as this is an area that he has worked extensively over the years. From the outset, it's been an arduous journey. Still, with the crucial help of Paul, Dupe, Rebecca & Helen from Derwent London, Simon and Becky, the incredible architects from AHMM & the hard work and determination from Tom and Iain from the Thornton Partnership and countless others, we have been able to relaunch our mental health clinic to serve the most vulnerable people in our community. In addition to unprecedented mental health support, our new office will also be used by a GP from a private practice on Harley Street and an NHS Dentist, both of whom are donating their time and expertise to help the most vulnerable people in our city. Tackling the homeless crisis takes a team effort and we are so fortunate to have such wonderful partners on our team. Thank you!