Believe it or not, there’s more to do in Nottingham than lectures, clubbing and societies, and Impact is determined to experience as much of it as possible. From heated political rallies to teeth chattering ghost walks, we’ll be there. In the latest edition of Nottingham Experienced, Emily joined HoMed for their weekly soup run for the evening.

How much do you give back? Many a student might be guilty of becoming sucked into the uni bubble and forgetting about the people in need in our city. Not those who take part in HoMed.

HoMed is an arm of MedSoc that is dedicated to feeding the homeless of Nottingham. With the number of people applying for Housing Aid from the Nottingham City Council rising by 32% between 2009-2012, the work of these students in helping those without a home has become increasingly important.

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As well as running events, raising money and hosting speakers, every Tuesday they hold a weekly soup run where they hand out sandwiches, soups and hot drinks. The team consists of about 4-6 volunteers, led by Zoe Kantor, and are mostly medics. Zoe told me this is mainly because of medics’ availability all year around. Course requirements towards the end of a medicine degree mean that students have to be around for most of the year, even during the summer holidays when other students are likely to be home.

It was immediately clear how vital as a food source the service is to the homeless community.

On the Tuesday night I decided to join them and it was immediately clear how vital as a food source the service is to the homeless community. Before we arrived at the park bench outside the Marks and Spencer, near Broadmarsh, there were already people waiting, regulars who have to come to rely on HoMed’s provisions. There wasn’t going to be any standing around – it was all hands on deck as I served out tea, coffee and hot chocolate.

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As we gave out provisions, Zoe told me about the support they get from businesses and communities in the area. Greggs, for example, sometimes allows them to have food that they have to throw away at the end of the day and McDonalds also lets the volunteers use their hot water to fill up their flasks.

HoMed’s role isn’t just feeding the homeless of Nottingham – they also work to help them to find a safe place for the night.

The evening continued and it started to become apparent that their role isn’t just feeding the homeless of Nottingham. HoMed also works to help them to find a safe place for the night, which is particularly important with these cold winter nights settling in. Information of nearby shelters, such as those provided by Framework, was to hand on laminated flyers.

Community Support Officers often help HoMed by pointing them towards people in need.

I saw this initiative in action when we were approached by a man who was not only lost but also had evidently had a bit too much to drink. With the help of a Community Support Officer, the volunteers managed to show him the way to the nearest shelter. Zoe said Community Support Officers often help HoMed by pointing them towards people in need.

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By 9pm the sandwiches were gone and and tea supplies depleted, and it was time for us to head back. I left the volunteers feeling uplifted; you hear so much about the conventional (apparently deadline and occasionally booze ridden) portrait of student life, but HoMed is one of the student groups at the University showing that there’s a different and empowering side to it. If a group of mostly busy medics can make a difference then surely so can we all?

Emily Shackleton

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