Portsmouth hotel brings in hundreds of gifts for disadvantaged

HUNDREDS of vulnerable children and families will enjoy a better Christmas thanks to generous donations.

Wednesday, 21st December 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 3:11 pm
From left, Beth Heritage and Yvonne Carter from Southern Domestic Abuse with, front from left, Debbie Ledgister and Carole Jenkins Picture: Sarah Standing (161711-9466)

The Innlodge Hotel in Burrfields Road, Portsmouth, put a message on Facebook asking for donations of children’s presents to give to families that use the Southern Domestic Abuse Service.

Last year, a similar appeal landed 50 gifts but this year over 400 poured in – including a new mountain bike.

Each was labelled with the age and gender of the child the gift was appropriate for.

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Sue Moorhead, manager at The Innlodge, said she could not believe just how many people had helped.

She said: ‘It shows that when Portsmouth gets together, we are a mighty city. We are never going to see the children but we’re giving them the gifts that they deserve at this time of year.’

Sue added: ‘It was great seeing all of the children coming along with their parents and getting involved.

‘They were all excited bringing the presents back in.

‘We had people coming in and dropping off gifts who had previously experienced similar things as a child.

‘And there were quite a few hotel guests who donated.

‘It took four of us an hour to lift them all out into the hallway to get collected and we cannot believe how many we have received.’

Yvonne Carter, deputy service manager at SDAS, said she was in shock when she walked through the door of The Innlodge.

She said: ‘It was quite overwhelming.

‘What it means is the children have something to look forward to and it can now be a very special time for them.

‘We have never had a donation quite like this before.

‘This is the biggest one from a single organisation.’

Parents of the children expressed their gratitude to the selfless people who donated presents to the cause and Yvonne said there were lots of tears.

One mum, who cannot be identified in order to keep her family safe, said: ‘I cannot believe it.

‘I have been so worried about how I was going to manage.’

Another mum said: ‘Thank you much for these gifts.

‘People are amazing and I am so overwhelmed.’

Southern Domestic Abuse Service runs refuge accommodation offering support and temporary accommodation to women and children escaping domestic abuse.