GIFTING choice to someone with limited means can be a gesture appreciated like no other.
That is the message from Hope House in Portsmouth as The News’ Comfort and Joy campaign gears up to conclude on Friday.
Clients at the 32-room Milton Road homeless shelter are set to be boosted when they receive a share of hundreds of pounds in supermarket gift cards donated to the effort.
And Claire Haque, the manager of the service, has seen first-hand what the vouchers can mean to those who receive one.
‘We’re always so proud to be part of this scheme,’ she said.
‘Some people who come to us will not even go and see their families at Christmas because they are too embarrassed that they cannot afford a gift to take.
‘So the vouchers, historically, have been used for those who want to buy their children or loved ones a Christmas present or to help them with food.’
Run by the Salvation Army, Hope House acts as a gateway for ‘positive outcomes’ and sustainable livelihoods for adults aged between 18 and 65 with no home.
Many clients who arrive do so battling addiction or mental health problems, or may have recently been released from prison and are seeking a road to rehabilitation.
Add the delay of payments from the newly-reformed benefits systems Universal Credit to that list and Hope House bosses say ‘Christmas can be a really difficult time’.
‘These vouchers give clients the element of choice,’ Claire said. ‘And the fact they have had that positive regard makes a huge difference.
‘They show someone has thought of [the clients], when they may never have been thought about before.’
All 32 of Hope House’s rooms are currently full, but the service also has the capacity to take in up to 15 rough sleepers per night.
Donations for the service’s clients can also be delivered to our special Comfort and Joy postboxes at Tesco superstores at Fratton, North Harbour, Fareham and Gosport.
How you can help spread Comfort and Joy
- This is how you can contribute to The News’ Comfort and Joy Campaign.
- Buy a Christmas card and write a message (please do not put your name and address).
- Purchase a supermarket voucher of £5.
- Put the gift card into the Christmas card, but do not seal the envelope.
- Place in a large envelope (seal this one) and place in a Tesco store post box or send to Deanery office, St Faith’s Church, Crasswell Street, Portsmouth, PO1 1HT.