Our Story

From Broadgreen Breakfast Club to Big Breakfast Plus, we’ve been supporting and serving the homeless in Swindon since 1993. This is our story.

Then and Now: 25 years of serving the homeless

1993 – 2005

Big Breakfast Plus originally started out as the Broadgreen Breakfast Club. With an initial grant of £10,000 from Swindon Borough Council, we officially launched on Saturday 26th June with the aim of serving a free cooked breakfast for homeless people two mornings a week. Back in 1993 we were fortunate to have rent-free use of the hall, kitchen and showers at Broadgreen Community Centre in Swindon, which gave the breakfast club its original name. Indeed, today it is still affectionally known as the ‘breakfast club’ by some of our regular guests.

After receiving a Lottery grant we eventually opened 3, 4, 5 and eventually 7 days a week between 6-9AM. Although we had help to get started we were happy to pay our own way. The Broadgreen Breakfast Club arranged for fresh towels and tea towels delivered and collected by a local laundry company each day and rented a small cupboard for storage.

Our little storage cupboard was also home to the breakfast club telephone, an absolute necessity for guests in a time before mobile phones!

2005 – 2017

In 2005 we lost our funding from the local authority, along with many other voluntary organisations in Swindon at the time. Not only would we have to pay rent for the Broadgreen Community Centre, we also had to fund the cost of specialist cleaning every day for use of the building. With costs mounting, we started looking for a new base for the breakfast club.

We were glad to find a perfect spot through Father Leslie, the Minister at St Luke’s Church which is just around the corner from the Broadgreen Community Centre. The parish agreed to hire the hall for 2 hours a day between 7-9AM, Monday to Saturday. 

Not only does Big Breakfast Plus offer a freshly cooked meal, we also offer a safe and convenient place where homeless people can access support without judgement. Our service was (and still is) much more than a breakfast club and in 2013 we changed our name from Broadgreen Breakfast Club to Big Breakfast Plus. The name change helped us highlight the ‘plus’ of our work with outreach workers from organisations like Threshold Housing Link, Swindon Night Shelter, and the drug and alcohol support agency CGL (now Turning Point).

For over 20 years, Angela Davidson was a trustee, Secretary, Chair, and volunteer co-ordinator who managed a small team of staff and volunteers. Angela announced in 2016 that she planned to retire on our 25th anniversary. Recognising that we couldn’t fill those shoes with another volunteer, Big Breakfast Plus appointed part-time paid Project Co-ordinator Jo Heaven, who joined us on 2nd October 2017.

2018-2020

In 2018 celebrated our 25th anniversary and trialled a 7-day service to support the temporary winter housing provision at Carfax St.

In January 2019 we relocated to The Haven on Queens Drive to support the homeless multi-agency hub managed by Swindon Night Shelter. We continued to serve breakfast 7 days a week from The Haven until March 2020 when our service closed due to guidance issued by Public Health England during the Covid-19 pandemic.

During our temporary closure, we decided to search for a more central location for breakfast. We were able to support some of our guests by offering take-away food vouchers and made plans for how to respond to changes in demand for our service locally.

Trustee Sarah collecting greggs food vouchers for the homeless in swindon

Big Breakfast Plus: Today

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After almost 2 years of being closed due to the restrictions of COVID19, we plan to restart our service from the middle of January 2022.

We will reopen at the Café at The Pilgrim Centre, Regent Circus, SN1 1PX, a central location which will make it easy for our guests to visit us. Our new opening times will be:

07.30-09.00am Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

We are happy to be working with the Central Church who are owners of the Pilgrim Centre and have welcomed us with open arms.

We need your support

25 years and who knows how many breakfasts later, we’re still here and needed more than ever. That’s where you come in…