good for bristol

Monday, 12 November 2012

Bristol's finest soup kitchens

I'm between squats at the moment so with no cooker, washing facilities, utensils or fridge I haven't been skip diving so much.  Instead I've been hitting the homeless cafes and soup runs.

Way ahead of all the others is the Wild Goose on Stapleton Road - right at the end near Trinity Road cop shop.  Weekdays there's breakfast 10am - midday, lunch midday to 3pm and an evening meal 8pm - 10pm.  It's shut on Saturdays and just open for the evening meal on Sundays.

It's a mixed crowd, the food is good if a bit "boiled stuff on rice" and it's got a generally good feel.  It can be awkwardly crowded at times, it could do with a bit more seated space.  The Goose shuts occasionally due to fighting otherwise it's consistent.

The Methodist Centre on Midland Road is next up, opening less frequently on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 10am to 2pm.  There's a meal on Wednesday and Thursday with tea and biscuits on Monday.  Food is good.  Generally a male crowd and staffed by friendly volunteers.  An impressive power shower is available if you turn up and book early.

The nightshelter on Wilder Street does food from 9pm most nights, the only time I've been there is was good, a big plateful of tomato stuff on pasta.  They hand out blankets too which are always handy.  A door down the side gives out bags of sandwiches to take away.

On Sundays 2.30pm at Easton Community Centre you can get a cooked meal.  Very friendly bunch although perhaps not too understanding of what it takes to cook a decent pudding.  I know I shouldn't complain but this weekend's banana and ginger cake was well stodgy.  Nice, friendly environment and makes a change from the Goose.

This morning I tried out the breakfast at the Salvation Army on Dean Street in Bedminster.  A proper cooked breakfast served from 7.30am to 9.30am so you avoid all the druggy stoner types who've barely even made it to bed at that time in the morning.  An entirely male crowd served by entirely female staff which is a bit weird, it felt a little 1970s, but the food was great so hey, who cares. 

The bloke opposite me round the table this morning smacked his mug of tea down a bit hard.  "You alright, mate?" I asked getting a hard snarl back "I'm not your mate."  The bloke then proceded to stare straight at me unblinking for about ten minutes.  Apparently he's a known character.  Anyway, that's the only bit of aggro I've had at all these places and even then didn't feel particularly threatened.

Oh - and I forgot the soup run 6pm on Saturdays in Brunswick Square.  Not bad at all, a warm plastic pot of spag bol and a home-made cake.  And I got a sleeping bag which has really made a difference at night.  I was starting to harden up to the cold but really I've slept a lot better in the new bag.

All these places have vegetarian options available for all the various meals.

All these places are great, of course, and I'm greatful they exist otherwise I'd be eating raw stuff from skips  and drinking mostly cold water but if I could make some suggestions:
  • use other bulk carbohydrates than white rice and pasta - the skips are full of potatoes for example
  • be bolder with the herbs, spices, garlic and other flavours, your diners will appreciate it
  • a separate tea and coffee table in the Goose would speed things up
  • improve the sandwiches given out which are all of the cheese and margarine variety
Oh - I haven't checked all the opening times and details in this post so don't rely on them.


  1. Darn it, after posting yesterday about all the sources of free food I've not had a bite all day today. The Goose was shut midday after a fight, nothing at the Methodist centre.

    I've tried a fair few shop bins around the city centre but it's too early. I'm feeling distinctly peckish right now!

    Hopefully the Goose will be open later or it's down the nightshelter last thing.

  2. Thanks for pointing out bristols great homeless care, dont spoil it being picky about spices and rice, you should bring your own pepper and spices if its not up to ur standard, just b gratefull people care enough to donate there time and money to give us ghreat meals which by the way i think tastes just fine.. THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO AT THE WHITE GOOSE X

    1. I don't think constructive criticism is the same as being "picky" nor has he/she spoiled the food or whatever "it" is by commenting on a couple of things. Why be just very good when you could be very excellent? One of the reasons hospital food is so bad is because they don't cook with salt, catering for all, dictated by the needs of a few. Its crazily topsyturvey. Another reason is most are afraid to bring the issue up for fear they are shamed back into silence by the holier than though YOU SHOULD BE GRATEFUL FOR WHAT YOU HAVE" brigade.

  3. Thanks for the info it shows were not all arsey chavs with a drug problem or in need of our a fine tuning in the attatude department. I haver also had the odd guy who thinks he rules the worls square up after being chalenged for pushing in the que at the Goose, Best to let them think they do, theres plenty of food and we all get some.
    Recently at The nightshelter on Wilder Street I made the comment to a lady sitting at the table I was eating at that "it was a refreshing change to have fresh bread as its usually stale" beggers cant be choosers" came the reply. It was then I realised for the first time how that perticular saying in regards food in Bristol wont cut the proverbial mustard as there are plenty of venue optiones to choose from all of a good standard. Once over the shame of receaving hand outs you will never need to starve in Bristol and although skip food is often good quallity you cant beat a hot meal when down on your luck. Thanks you to all the outlets, I agree obout the spices and garlic ets but its still great as is.