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One Big Family helps the homeless and those in financial crisis in Medway. We operate a weekly soup kitchen in Chatham, where we serve nutritious food and distribute essentials (e.g. toiletries and clothing). We offer daily support with housing, benefits and advocacy – we accompany clients to interviews/assessments – and work very closely with other agencies in Medway (including the Rough Sleeper Initiative, of which we are an unfunded partner) to ensure we can offer the most effective support to clients. We also run a Homeless Emergency Winter Refuge – which opens any night the temperature is forecast to be zero degrees or below, and every weekend throughout the winter to provide a safe place to sleep and support for rough sleepers.
We represent an opportunity to help others, whether that be on the 'frontline' or behind the scenes, every volunteer position is vital to ensure the smooth running of the refuge. People can learn new skills through volunteering and help break the stigma of homelessness to show we are all human. Some of our previous refuge guests are now interested in becoming volunteers.