Charities say thanks after News Comfort and Joy Christmas campaign raises £12,000

Don Hodgson, 58 from Lee-on-the-Solent. Don has scooped two awards at the 2018 Chelsea Flower Show for his garden, The Force for Good - a collaborative project between military veterans and Sparsholt College. Picture: Supplied

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THANK you.

That is the message from charities across the city after more than £12,000 was raised by The News’ Comfort and Joy Christmas campaign.

Volunteers and organisers ready to distribute the gifts

Volunteers and organisers ready to distribute the gifts

Eleven charities and more than 100 people gathered at a carol service to collect Christmas bags full of gift vouchers and cards kindly donated by our readers.

Brett Haynes from the Society of St James said: ‘These gift vouchers and Christmas cards will make such a difference to our clients this Christmas.

‘Through the rest of the year the homeless are often ignored, so for them it is good to show people do care about them.’

The campaign helped charities that support young adults, families, the homeless and those struggling with mental health issues and addictions.

Adam Archer lives at Hope House in Portsmouth which provides accommodation and support.

The 30-year-old said: ‘The vouchers are very helpful and useful to me and I will spend them on something nice.

‘It is really nice to know people out there care and have donated.’

The aim of the campaign was to give those in need a gift of choice at Christmas and show people care about those on the margins of society.

The Reverend Canon Bob White said: ‘This service has been a wonderful time to celebrate the generosity of people in the city and to acknowledge the work that is done by all the agencies we support. Thank you to all who have supported it.’

Tesco Extra in Fratton supported the campaign and encouraged customers to donate.

At the carol service Tesco Community Champion Gemma Morrison said: ‘It is great to hear from the charities what the donations mean to them and understand how it benefits their users.

‘It is really nice to do something a little bit extra at Christmas to help others.’

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan, who attended the carol service, said: ‘On local charities day, it is great to support so many local charities and I want to say thank you to everyone who has donated and The News for their support.’

Editor of The News Mark Waldron said: ‘I want to say a massive thank you to all our readers for donating to our Christmas campaign this year and I truly hope the vouchers and cards bring comfort and joy to those across the city supported by these great charities.’