Caring Jenette juggles her job with street life

Jenette Mace (left) and Diane Martin with items collected for the homeless by the Echoes Community Care charity in Havant.  Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (114234-1)

Jenette Mace (left) and Diane Martin with items collected for the homeless by the Echoes Community Care charity in Havant. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (114234-1)

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After 24 years as a care worker, Jenette Mace realised there was something missing in her life.

The 41-year-old decided she wanted to devote even more time to those in need.

So a few weeks ago she started juggling her full-time job at Echoes Community Care, in Havant, with evening visits to see people living rough on the streets.

Every Tuesday and Thursday she finishes work at 5pm and rushes home to cook some soup.

She then dishes out the warm broth and a bag of bread rolls, biscuits and cakes to rough sleepers at The Hard Interchange, Albert Road, Osborne Road and Palmerston Road, in Southsea.

Jenette, from Leigh Park, also makes her way along Eastern Road and every Tuesday she’s joined by Echoes Community Care manager Diane Martin.

Mother-of-three Jenette says: ‘It’s really enjoyable but some of the things you see can be a real worry.

‘The first time I went out I met a 74-year-old gentleman but I haven’t seen him since.

‘Someone sleeping on a park bench nearby recently told me he had been taken in by someone, so that came as a bit of relief.

‘One young lad went missing after he slept rough for a while but now he’s been found back on the streets.

‘When you see that some of them are that young you just want to take them in and care for them.’

Jenette also hands out blankets, jumpers, hats, scarfs and underwear to the homeless on her weekly visits – all donated by family and friends.

‘I really hope that my visits make a big difference to their lives,’ she adds.

‘It makes it all worthwhile when you go back each week and you see people wearing the clothes that have been donated.

‘There’s always a lot of requests for underwear.

‘I’m looking to start doing weekends now because as it gets colder and colder, I really start to think about how tough it must be for them.’

Jenette’s long-term goal is to set up her own hostel so she can provide people with a warm place to sleep and have a bath.

‘A lot of homeless people tell me they’re afraid of going into a hostel because it would be noisy and uncomfortable. Some have told me they came out of hostels and found it much calmer living on the streets. I would really love to provide them with the perfect place.’

One day she hopes to be of use abroad. ‘I love helping out others. It would be amazing to make a difference in third world countries.’

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