Caring pupils give up time for the homeless

(l-r) Jo Vaughan, Kim Dugan, Hannah, Summer Haly, Harry Day, Harry Gilbert and Rebecca Melmodh.'Pupils from Miltoncross School, Milton donate food parcels.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (124127-940)
(l-r) Jo Vaughan, Kim Dugan, Hannah, Summer Haly, Harry Day, Harry Gilbert and Rebecca Melmodh.'Pupils from Miltoncross School, Milton donate food parcels.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (124127-940)
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At Christmas, children are excited about the thought of opening presents that people have bought for them.

But for one group of youngsters in Portsmouth, it’s a time to give something back to the community.

Children aged 11 to 16 at Miltoncross School in Milton Road, Milton, collected and donated warm socks, tins of food, chocolate, biscuits, mince pies and other treats to the homeless.

Each tutor group at the school rallied together to give 30 hampers to Central Point, a service which supports vulnerable people.

Youngsters gave up some of their break-times and tutorials to decorate the hampers.

And yesterday children handed over their finished gifts to two representatives from Central Point.

Patrick Quirke, 47, of Cosham, is head of Religious and Life Issues at Miltoncross.

He says: ‘The children really did enjoy doing it.

‘I think that is shown by the sheer quantity and quality of the hampers.’

Patrick adds that all the gifts and the materials used to make the hampers came from the students to show the homeless people they were thinking of them.

Central Point, which is based in Kingston Road, Buckland, Portsmouth, provides shelter, clean clothes and a place to eat and shower for rough sleepers.

A spokeswoman for Central Point says: ‘A lot of effort has gone into the hampers and the decorations look really good.

‘It will all get used.

‘Food will be used in their meals and also in their donations tray so they can take it away for the nights they are out on the street.’

‘We really appreciate it.

‘It’s overwhelming when you see it all together.’

Summer Haly, 15, of Milton, is head girl at the school.

She says: ‘I enjoyed doing it.

‘It’s a great cause helping the homeless. It makes you realise how fortunate you are.’

Deputy head boy Joe Vaughan, 15, of Milton, says: ‘I’m excited for Christmas and have asked for an Ultrabook Convertible Laptop.

‘I think it shows how much you want compared to how much the homeless people actually get.’

This is the seventh year that the school has taken part in the Christmas hamper appeal. Headteacher Fiona Calder says she is part of a community school – so it was apt that they got involved to help others. She says: ‘I’m proud of the students because it will make a lot of different to some people’s lives.’