Since restarting The Gathering's weekly Soup Kitchen just before the nation moved to Level 4 lockdown, our numbers have been noticeably down on their pre-lockdown levels, and whilst we have no definitive evidence as to why this might be, we do have some good ideas as to why this is the case.

One of the clearest reasons is that a number of our regulars have been staying at the local night shelter for the duration of the lockdown and as such simply can't make it to Firgrove and back in time and as such we won't see these guys until this is all over, whenever that is.

We also know that a large group of regulars spread across two makeshift squatter camps are too scared to leave their lodgings after dark for fear of losing everything, so we only see some of these guys at the start of service before it's dark. Sometimes one or two will venture out later but they've had to make a plan to keep things safe whilst they're away.

Then there is the absence of regulars living in the community itself. This is harder to quantify, other than the fact that we know a fair number are afraid to go out after dark because of their perceptions of the lockdown rules, especially around the curfew. This is born out of a misunderstanding of the rules and the thuggish nature of certain authority figures in ensuring the rules are adhered to.

All in all it makes for a tragic picture of life under lockdown for the most vulnerable, and all we can do is hope and pray that there is an end in sight to this very soon.

Another lovely sunset as we begin serving


This dog is quite savvy making himself incredibly friendly towards us as he's become a regular, he knows we can't turn him away

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