Meet a hero: Hilary Knight

Hilary Knight, Coordinator of the Plymouth Soup Run
Hilary Knight
Coordinator of the Plymouth Soup Run

Tell us about Plymouth Soup Run
Plymouth soup run is a community and faith driven service providing free food and hot drinks to homeless, hungry and vulnerable people 365 days a year.

How long have you run the soup run?
Over 10 years

What are the times and how often is it open?
Seven nights a week! Usually 9:15pm to 10:15pm

What do you serve?
Hot soup , sandwiches, fresh fruit and a treat!

How many do you feed?
Up to 90 folk

How does nextmeal.co.uk affect you?
The Police and community services have really seen it as an opportunity to engage with street homeless people and direct them to the homeless centres to receive help and support.

You can find Plymouth Soup Run on Facebook.

You can read more on helping the homeless in Plymouth here.

Singing for the soupy!

Opera singer and Muswell Hill local Lesley Garrett
Opera singer Lesley Garrett

Here’s a little insight into something we did in Muswell Hill to raise funds.

We organised an event called “Sing for the Soupy”. The event took place on a Saturday afternoon and ran for around one hour.

We were very lucky to have opera singer and local celebrity Lesley Garrett take part and sing in our local church. We also had children from local schools participate. It was a really fun way to raise funds.

It involved the whole community and everyone had a wonderful time. It was really uplifting for the singers and the audience. Most importantly, we raised funds!

5 steps to achieve a 5* food safety rating

5 star Food Hygiene Rating graphic

Having spoken to centres around the country, we know that the biggest concerns are Food, Funding and Safety. Our first edition focuses on food safety.

Food safety should be the number one priority for every centre and these straightforward steps will help you achieve the best hygiene rating.

The Food Standards Agency provides helpful guidance for any organisation serving food to the public:

1. The four main things to remember for good hygiene are the 4 Cs:

                 – Cleaning

                 – Cooking 

                 – Chilling

                 – Cross-contamination

2. Obtain the Food Safety level 2 course for all operatives (many can be achieved online).

3. Ensure that you have a contract with a registered pest control company. They can provide lots of helpful advice and guidance.

4. Engage positively with the Council Environmental Health Inspectors.

5. Never be complacent. Carry daily, weekly and monthly checks and always have an evidence trail.

If you’d like to contribute your ideas to improving safety please let us know – contact martin.stone@nextmeal.co.uk

Happy cooking!!!

The Big Interview

Martin Stone, Next Meal founder

Next Meal founder Martin Stone with Actress Naomie Harris
Martin Stone with actress Naomie Harris

What is Next Meal?

Launched in October 2017, www.nextmeal.co.uk is a website primarily designed for smartphones using GPS technology to link homeless people to food and support 24/7, across the UK and in some European cities. It reduces street homelessness by encouraging people to give Next Meal cards instead of money, helping to reduce begging.

Why was Next Meal created?

I voluntarily run a soup kitchen in Muswell Hill in north London, open five evenings a week. However, many of the guests we served asked us for information about other food centres in the area, their opening times and services. There wasn’t one central resource or an easy way to find this out, which is why we created www.nextmeal.co.uk.

How does Next Meal work?

We have 370 centres featured on the site – soup kitchens, day centres, night shelters with day service facilities, etc. and new centres are joining all the time.

Since our launch, we have had over 150,000 pageviews and Next Meal has been featured on BBC news, in The Big Issue and the Financial Times, as well as many local press and other media. Awareness is increasing all the time.

How can centres get involved?

By sharing ideas and best practices across centres we want to provide practical ideas and support to all those helping to fight homelessness. Our free membership scheme is open to all centres across regions and countries. To become a member click here