in the Community
"I was homeless living in Chatham with nothing when I first came to Caring Hands. I was a broken man, addicted to class-A drugs, going in and out of prison for the crimes I committed to feed my addiction. I was confused, lost and hurt and at the same time I hurt everyone around me, especially my family.
I started using the facility and allowed the staff to help me put my life back together. I began to volunteer for Caring Hands after all they had done for me and loved every minute of it."
Through Caring Hands' connection to COOK [who regularly donate, clothing and send staff to volunteer as well as offer jobs to our guests who are at the confidence stage in our recovery process], I got a job. That gave me stability to get married, rent a flat, do my driving test and get a car on the road. Now life is wonderful to me. I'm a Christian and I continue to change for the better.
Former Caring Hands Guest
I first started working with Caring Hands in the Community some four years ago. Our business, COOK, makes and sells remarkable frozen meals for the great British public. We try and keep waste to a minimum, but inevitably there are some portions left over from time to time in our Kitchen. This has enabled us to supply top-quality food to Caring Hands to help feed some of the most vulnerable people in Medway.
Working with them in their lovely kitchen in Chatham, I have met some amazing people. Because of COOK’s commitment to being ‘a force for good in society’, we’ve been able to offer employment to some of them – including those who have been homeless or spent time in prison. A job, responsibility and a regular salary is an important step in rebuilding a life and we are proud to currently employ three full-time staff who were helped by Caring Hands. They are some of the most dedicated and valued members of our team.
Our relationship is open, honest and grows stronger with time. I personally feel very privileged to have met such a caring bunch of people who really are making a difference and turning lives around.
“Caring Hands is part of my support network. It’s part of my Christian network. And it gives me the opportunity to encourage other people and listen to their stories. Having been through it all myself, I don’t judge, just empathise.” (Sue was a working Mum with three children and a mortgage, then she got ME. Over the course of the next few years she lost her health, her job and finally her home. She now has somewhere to live and continues to come to Caring Hands to give back).
“Homelessness can happen to any of us, given a few bad breaks. You find yourself vulnerable, depressed and despised by most of society. Caring Hands provides fellowship, and a sanctuary. People can come in and sleep because it’s a place of safety. Out in the streets, it’s hard, trying to keep yourself warm, clean and well. Here you can have a hot shower, hot food, help. You can use a phone or the internet for free, or you can get someone to contact your family just to let them know you’re safe."
“Caring Hands is so many things to so many people. It serves the community it stands in.”
Caring Hands Guest
We all feel that no one should go hungry in this country, but the truth is many do. Kent Frozen Foods is honoured to be able to support the vital work of Caring Hands by donating food weekly.
It helps our community and avoids disposing of good food which helps no one. We know that when we fill their food stores, all the food will be used to support the less fortunate people of the Medway Towns.
Caring Hands cook healthy meals for those who need it most, people who are vulnerable, homeless or just need a hand up in life. We have been donating to Caring Hands for several years now, and we can’t think of a better cause to support in this way.
Kent Frozen Foods
“Kent Community Foundation has been proud to support Caring Hands over a number of years, regularly visiting the Day Centre and taking along a number of our fund holders to see their work in action. Everyone comments on how impressed they are in terms of how the Day Centre operates, but also how key it is in helping those individuals supported in getting their lives back on track. These observations have only been strengthened when we have met and listened to people whose future has been genuinely transformed through the support and dedication of the staff and volunteers.”
Kent Community Foundation
A Caring Hands Partner
“The people are nice here, generous, it’s a good place to come. If Caring Hands didn’t exist I’d be walking the streets all day long.
“When I first came here, they helped me out in a big way. I’d had no benefits in 11 weeks. I was stressed out. They helped me sort it out. You get fed well here, and often get food to take away. They bend over backwards to help you. And most importantly, they treat you with respect.”
Caring Hands Guest
The aim of the student officer placement is to maximise the learning experience for the student police officers and to give them an understanding of organisations and diverse community groups within Kent. This provides an opportunity for organisations and communities to contribute to the training of Kent Police officers, thus strengthening working relationships and enhancing better understanding and appreciations.
Kent Police have been working in partnership with Caring Hands for a number of years. They are always readily supportive and accepting in hosting student police officers either on a two or four day placement and have hosted a vast number of students over the years. The hard work and effort Caring Hands put into the student placements is reflected within each student’s feedback. The service Caring Hands provide to the Kent Police Initial Police Learning and Development Programme is always professional, friendly and most of all educational.
Our Assistant Manager Simon knows from personal experience how easy it is to become homeless. A successful Set Manager who was involved with building the first Big Brother house, he worked on TV and feature films like Bad Girls and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. With big budgets and tight schedules, he was under pressure at work and began to drink to relieve the stress.
He lost his job and the same day came home to discover his marriage was over. Within three months he found himself without a home.
He first arrived at Caring Hands as a guest, and an alcoholic. But this is the beginning of his story, not the end. With the support and friendship he found at Caring Hands, he hasn’t touched alcohol since 27th Jan 2014.
Having left school with no qualifications, he took a METcic course in GSCE-equivalent literacy and numeracy and passed. He started volunteering at Caring Hands, and thanks to Cook’s Chef-Director, Dale Penfold, underwent on-the-job training to become our chef. He is pretty handy at maintenance too, and helped build a menagerie in the Caring Hands garden.
Former Caring Hands Guest
Opening Times: Monday - Friday | 9am - 4pm
15a-16 New Road Avenue, Chatham, Kent ME4 6BA.