A homeless man, helped to survive life on the streets by Hastings based Hope Kitchen, has put pen to paper to express his thanks to the charity in a moving poem.
People who find refuge at Hope Kitchen (a soup kitchen at Wellington Square Baptist Church that welcomes anyone over 18 to stave off the hunger with some soup and sandwiches, a hot drink and a chat on Thursday and Saturday evenings 7.30-9pm) are known as ‘guests’ by the volunteers who run it. Ealier this winter Sean, who had been sleeping rough, became one such guest after hearing about Hope Kitchen.
The welcome Sean recieved at the charity made such a possitive impact on his wellbeing that he was inspired to begin writing poetry. One of his poems, ‘Where there’s Hope’, gives a moving account of his experiences at Hope Kitchen and the effect on his life.
Chairman of the Chrity, Mike Cooper, says writing poetry has been therapeutic for Sean after he fell on hard times. “Sean is an intelligent and engaging person who has worked in responsible positions in business and the health service,” he said. “He found himself homeless and trying to claim benefits for the first time in his life.”
Soon after discovering Hope Kitchen, one of the volunteers suggested to Sean that he write down some of his experiences but Mike said at that point he did not feel able to do so. “As the winter progressed Sean found things increasingly hard. With help from the Seaview Project at St Leonards (which helps those in need find short-term crisis accommodation to prevent rough sleeping) he has recently been found temporary accommodation and he started writing poetry.”
Mike says that though Sean had no previous writing experience he now finds poems come naturally to him. “He says that writing down his thoughts in this way has been helpful in his own journey of restoration. Hopefully he will find a permanent home soon and can continue rebuilding his life, “ he said.
Mike says the aim of Hope Kitchen is to provide a warm, dry and safe place to have something to eat and drink but also to offer advice and support in a welcoming and friendly environment, adding: “As a volunteer at Hope Kitchen I often have a sense that ‘There but for the grace of God go I’. Life’s circumstance can change very quickly leading to depression, loss of employment and homelessness.
“We try to encourage those who visit us that there is hope and that they are all valued and loved.
“Sean’s poem expresses so well what we are trying to do. We often receive thanks but reading his poem has been an enormous encouragement to us all.
“Thank you Sean.”
To see more of Sean’s poems or to volunteer with visit: www.hopekitchenhastings.org or phone George on 07931587349