Navy recruits empty cupboards for the homeless

Sailors from HMS Collingwood were told to clear their cupboards before they go on leave & donate the food to a local young persons homeless service. Pictured are the training staff at Collingwood.'''Left to right:'''Leading Hand Matt Sommerville, project leader at the ARC/Two Saints in Gosport Jamie Hutchison, Leading Hand Jo Downie, and Warrant Officer 2 Sam Salt, along with James Buckley, 22, of Gosport, centre, a young person supported by the service.
Sailors from HMS Collingwood were told to clear their cupboards before they go on leave & donate the food to a local young persons homeless service. Pictured are the training staff at Collingwood.'''Left to right:'''Leading Hand Matt Sommerville, project leader at the ARC/Two Saints in Gosport Jamie Hutchison, Leading Hand Jo Downie, and Warrant Officer 2 Sam Salt, along with James Buckley, 22, of Gosport, centre, a young person supported by the service.
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Picture: Fareham Borough Council

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RECRUITS from the Royal Navy have done their bit to make sure young homeless people in Gosport will not go hungry.

Sailors training at HMS Collingwood emptied their cupboards before they went on Christmas leave and donated what they had to the Accommodation Resource Centre, in Forton Road, Gosport.

The homelessness service is run by Two Saints and supports young people aged 16-25 by helping them find somewhere to live through supported lodging schemes or resettlement lodgings.

Jamie Hutchison, project leader at the ARC, said he was delighted that the sailors had decided to support the organisation.

‘Especially at this time of year we can give things out to people,’ he said.

‘We want to sort things out and make sure they’re fine for Christmas.

‘It gives us peace of mind that no one’s going hungry.’

More than 200 recruits are in their second phase of training at HMS Collingwood in Fareham, after completing their initial training at HMS Raleigh in Plymouth.

Recruits from Victory Squadron made the food bank before they went on leave on Friday, December 21, donating to a good cause rather than letting all of it go to waste.

Leading Hand Jo Downie is in charge of the recruits during their hold over period and delivered the food parcel along with the rest of the training team.

She said: ‘I didn’t actually realise that this organisation existed in Gosport.

‘We do a lot of community work, we normally do ground clearances, gardens, things like that.

‘This is a personal thing as well, I just wanted to give something back to Gosport because the navy is such a huge part of the community. We need to do something.’

And the efforts of the Royal Navy are well appreciated by users of the ARC service.

James Buckley, 22, of Gosport, has used ARC for more than a year and has previously received food donations.

He said: ‘It’s like the community helping the community out.

‘You’ve got people giving up their free time.

‘It’s a generous contribution to us, it’s like a Christmas present for the homeless.’

For more information or to find out how you can donate to ARC, contact staff at the centre on (023) 9251 1062.

n Two Saints also need landlords for their supported lodgings scheme. Visit twosaints.org.uk for more.