Portsmouth youngsters spread seasonal goodwill with gift of hampers to the homelessÂ

THE CHILDREN of Mayfield School have shown the importance of giving this Christmas after handing over 68 hampers to a charity for the homeless.

Sunday, 23rd December 2018, 11:33 am
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 10:45 am
Mayfield headteacher David Jeapes, with head girl, Helena Williams and head boy, Ryan Taylor, Lord Mayor Lee Mason and the Society of St James team, Rebecca Bartlett, Anna Jackson and Slevenen Nikodimova. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Representatives from the Society of St James attended a special assembly to thank the children and be presented with the hampers.

Recovery service manager, Anna Jackson, said: '˜The efforts of the staff and children is absolutely tremendous. It will have an enormous impact on the people who use our centre. I think they will be delighted and it is good for them to see that people care. Some of the food from the hampers will be used to help provide a Christmas dinner to the people who visit the shelter.'

In addition to donations of food the school made a conscious decision to also include items of clothing and toiletries. 

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Mayfield headteacher David Jeapes, with head girl, Helena Williams and head boy, Ryan Taylor, Lord Mayor Lee Mason and the Society of St James team, Rebecca Bartlett, Anna Jackson and Slevenen Nikodimova. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Head girl, Helena Williams, 16, said: '˜At this time of year it is important to provide warm clothes to help people in the cold weather. The Society of Saint James have washing facilities and so the toiletries will also be useful.'

Local branches of Asda, Tesco and Morrisons donated items of food and clothing. Halfords contributed items such as thermos flasks and waterproof clothing and there were also contributions from hearing aid manufacturers Starkey and Phonak.

Asda Community Champion, Dani Dean, said: '˜We wanted to get involved as it is great to help people in the local community. It is important to show people we care as no one wants to be left with nothing at Christmas.'

Tesco representative, Gemma Morrison, added: '˜We get a lot of requests but this is a project we really wanted to get involved in. We had the resources and were happy to help in anyway we can.'

Some of the colourful hampers ready for donation. Picture: Habibur Rahman

This is the third year the school has been involved in providing hampers to the society and headteacher David Jeapes believes this year's project has been the most successful yet. 

'˜This year has captured the imagination of the whole school and community. I am humbled by the generosity that has been shown and really proud of the staff and students,' explained Mr Jeapes.

Special guest at the assembly was the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr Lee Mason.

'˜I think the children have shown such initiative and a real passion for this project. The hampers will provide a huge support for the charity and the clothes will be particularly useful with the wet weather at this time of year,' said Cllr Mason.

Pupils and staff at Mayfield Primary and Secondary School made hampers for Society of St James which needs help over Christmas with supplies. Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cllr Lee Mason, with staff of Mayfield school, members of the Society of St James and some of the pupils. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Mr Jeapes was particularly proud that students had embraced the true festive spirit.

'˜The hamper initiative really allows the children to express the true meaning of Christmas and the importance of giving to others rather than taking,' explained Mr Jeapes.