HOMELESS people in Burton are being given the opportunity to enjoy a hot meal and seek help thanks to a local charity.
The Eaton Foundation, which was set up by Alex Eaton following the death of his father Neil in a refuge last year, is currently operating a weekly food drop-in for rough sleepers at the Burton Carribean Association in Uxbridge Street.
The project was originally set up after it received funding from Vinspired to run a six-week pilot. However, it has since been awarded extra funding by Staffordshire County Council that will allow it to carry on into the new year.
Chair of the foundation Jessica Eaton told the Mail that their aim has always been to go out and help people, rather than just raise awareness. She explained: “When we set up the Eaton Foundation, it was about going out there and actually doing something to help people that need it.”
“In our first week we had five homeless people come to see us, and they each got a hot meal. We try to keep our food tasty but as neutral as possible. We did a vegetable curry and a vegetable curry with jacket potatoes. Those that came had a bit of both.
“Obviously word gets around and we’re expecting to be much busier in the coming weeks, which is great.”
As well as providing a hot meal, visitors to the food drop-in can talk to therapists who are available to offer advice, support and guidance as well as discussing any issues that rough sleepers might want to raise.
Jessica added: “Often people who are sleeping rough don’t want to talk and they’re quite hard to reach. Our aim is to create a place where they can enjoy a hot meal and also talk to someone who is prepared to listen, creating a more relaxed environment.”
In order to maintain future funds and to aid self-sufficiency, the foundation also held a raffle dinner on June 7, which would have been Neil’s 53rd birthday. More than 50 guests attended a four course meal at the Hilton House Hotel, including UCMMA Heavyweight World Champion, Paul ‘The Titan’ Taylor.
Jessica said that the night proved to be a huge success with guests as £1,540 was raised from the meal and raffle, which included more than 40 prizes.