Medway Street Angels
Helping the homeless & those in need across Kent & Medway
MSA by the numbers
Numbers aren’t everything. But they do give a good idea of the impact MSA has in the Medway area.
Weekly meals provided
Current Chatham homeless
Supported with accomodation
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MSA is a charity that supports the local homeless community, as well as others in need, in the Medway area of Kent. We offer advice, comfort, and a wonderful air of welcome to all our guests, with a range of practical help.
Our main organised activities are the Soup Kitchens that run on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7pm in the Clover Street car park in Chatham. Here we serve up hot and cold drinks along with a choice of hot meals and a dessert. If you could benefit from joining us for a meal, you can find out more here.
MSA was founded as The Medway Street Angels in 2014 when we began supporting the homeless by searching the local streets, parks and green areas with a pushchair, a flask and hot food. At the time no other such service was available. This service evolved over the next few months to garden trolleys, more volunteers, and more food, walking for several miles from 7-11pm.
Since that time, the charity has grown, thanks to the amazing contributions of our volunteers and supporters. We expanded to multiple days a week and reduced back down to two days providing static soup kitchens. In addition to our weekly meals, working with local authorities we now also provide essential items to those in need within our community, as well as ongoing care and support.
Our soup kitchens are open to all guests — our policy is that no one is turned away, and we’re often joined by people from the age of 17 right through to 70 and upwards. We provide a friendly and mutually respectful atmosphere, sharing plenty of hot food and drinks. We also distribute clothing, toiletries and camping equipment. Donations are always welcome, as they go directly to helping those who need it most. You can find out more about which items to donate, as well as information for financial donations, on our ‘Give Help’ page.
All our charitable activities in Medway are run by our dedicated volunteers, who ensure each guest leaves feeling happier than when they arrived, with tailored information for support. Our team members are fully trained, DBS checked and regularly offered additional training such as courses in first aid, suicide prevention, mental health, domestic abuse, and substance misuse.
If you’re interested in joining our group of volunteers, we’d love to hear from you!
The Reality of Homelessness
As a charity, we also take seriously our responsibility to educate people on homelessness, especially as there are so many misconceptions.
The reality is we are all just one or two pay cheques away from homelessness; ask yourself how long could you support your family and keep your home without an income.
Some of the needs faced by the people we support are obvious — such as the need for hot food or warm clothing. But there are many other issues that our homeless face, that are much less visible. For example, mental health issues, loneliness, neglect and abuse.
So MSA is not just a soup kitchen! We seek to care for people, whatever their need.
One of the ways we help is by allowing people to use our rented storage unit as their care of address, meaning they are able to receive vital post, as well as being able to claim benefits and to register with a doctor or a dentist. In the past we have helped people to apply for documents like birth certificates and, if needed, we can provide a secure space to look after these important items.
Our charity vision is not limited to the homeless of our area — there are plenty of others who are in need of our support.
Some of the people we meet are used to being judged, pitied or abused on the street, instead of someone simply asking how their day is going. This type of human contact can make even simple conversations very daunting. So MSA assists with various appointments that people have, such as benefits appointments, doctors’ appointments, family visits. We are also able to provide support like practising conversations, practising interviews, and general social norms.
Working closely with other local agencies and authorities, we can provide support for those with and without accommodation. We’re able to offer support in referring into housing, support with addiction, coping with mental health issues and other general needs in life such as registering for bank accounts or medical help.
Character is measured on how you treat those who can give you nothing!
Working with local schools we can support low income families with ingredients to ensure the whole family have access to regular nutritious meals — without having to sacrifice other necessities such as heating bills or school shoes. Whilst providing this food is important, we never leave such families without access to the other support they may need.
By now you’ll be getting a sense of how much we do here at MSA. We rely solely on public donations, meaning everything that’s given to us makes a huge difference.
If you’d like to be involved in any way, our ‘Give Help’ page has plenty of ideas of how you can be part of this amazing work!
I enjoy coming to the soup kitchen, there is always a friendly atmosphere and the volunteers are always smiling. The volunteers have helped me get into accommodation and then gave me the house stuff to get started.
I regularly come to the soup kitchen for a support network.
Changing perceptions of homelessness
We aim to challenge the stereotypes behind homelessness. To do this, we work with a lot of Medway schools, colleges, and clubs to help to educate the next generation. We also attend seminars and group meets such as the masons, rotary club and WI groups, to enable us to educate every generation.
If you’re interested in organising an educational visit, get in touch with us.
The truth is that homelessness occurs for a myriad of reasons, often so closely linked that it’s impossible to see which came first.
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In addition to the kind donations from members of the public, MSA are also massively grateful to our wonderful sponsors.