Homeless charities get £12,500 boost at carol service

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THOUSANDS of pounds raised for homeless charities was handed over at a carol service in Portsmouth.

The event was at St Mary’s Church in Fratton to say thanks to those who donated to several homeless charities based in the city.

The service at St Mary's Church, Fratton.

The service at St Mary's Church, Fratton.

Every year, in the run up to Christmas, Father Bob White and a team from the church collects vouchers worth £5 which homeless people can spend on what they wish.

Father Bob said: ‘The idea for the vouchers was thought up one morning 12 years ago and since then has grown.

‘We wanted to help the people who are homeless and give them something they don’t have a choice.

‘The vouchers give them the chance to go out and buy something they want rather than giving them something that someone else has bought.’

This year, people donated £12,500 of vouchers, taking the total raised over the 12 years to more than £100,000.

Father Bob added: ‘We were surprised at how much we managed to raise considering the current economic situation.

‘But it showed the generosity of the area and the response to people in need that we get.’

During the hour-long service representatives from the various homeless charities and organisations spoke about what they do and how the vouchers will help them.

A series of carols were sung including Away in a Manger, Silent Night and Hark the Herald.

After the service the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Councillor Lynne Stagg said: ‘It never ceases to amaze me the generosity of people who donate and the great work of the volunteers. It makes me quite emotional – everyone deserves a big thank you.’

The vouchers will be distributed to users of the homeless charities.