BECAUSE of the kind-hearted people of Portsmouth, tomorrow will be a day to remember for those in need.
Eleven c harities and good causes now reaping the benefits of The News’ Christmas Comfort and Joy campaign, which concluded on Friday.
At a special carol sing-in at St Mary’s Church in Fratton, more than £10,000 in supermarket gift cards were dished out to people fighting homelessness and addiction, fleeing abuse and desperately seeking asylum.
The Portsmouth Foyer assists youngsters aged 16 to 25 with complex individual needs.
Support worker Scott Jowett said: ‘These vouchers will give our young people the ability to do and choose things for themselves – it empowers them to a certain degree and brightens up their day and their Christmas.’
Stop Domestic Abuse (Southern Domestic Abuse Service) CEO Claire Lambon, said: ‘When you’ve experienced domestic abuse you’ve been told no one is interested, that you deserve it and that nobody will believe you.
‘But actually, the community have thought of you and your children at this time – put their hands in their pockets and made a financial donation that will give you the choice to spend it on what you want.’
Children looked after by The Roberts Centre attended the sing-in and CEO Carole Damper was thrilled the campaign, which has been running for nearly two decades, is still bringing in tens of thousands of pounds to help those in need.
She said: ‘It brings some love and some compassion to people who really need it. Especially at a time like this when most people are with their families and full of mince pies it shows that there are people out there who care about you even though they have never met.’
Emma Adams from the Portsmouth Churches Housing Association said: ‘People have been hit hard by Universal Credit and this will really help at a difficult time.’
Jade Moth, who has been helped by PCHA, added: ‘It means such a lot to everyone and I can’t wait to choose something special for Christmas.’
St Mary’s Church vicar Father Bob White added the cash haul showed Portsmouth residents ‘are committed to the communities of which they are a part and they have a genuine desire to help those around them.’
Tesco stores raise hundreds for News campaign
ORGANISATIONS and charities have thanked Tesco customers for donating to The News’ Comfort and Joy campaign.
Over £400 was raised from postboxes in stores in Fratton, North Harbour, Gosport and Fareham.
Fratton Community Champion Gemma Morrison said: ‘It is an honour to be involved again and our customers have done us proud. I think some people think only giving £5 doesn’t make a difference but, as we say, every little helps and the campaign raised £10,000 by everyone giving a little.’
North Harbour service manager Sue Blake added: ‘This is my first year of the campaign and its lovely to see the causes benefiting from the community. We think community is so important at Tesco and we want people to help each other.’