Church's voucher scheme hits record high

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A charity drive which sees food vouchers being given to the homeless has raised more than £12,000.

It is co-ordinated by St Mary's Church, Fratton, and the vouchers will be given to nine different charities in Portsmouth, Fareham and Havant for distribution.

This year's total is the most that has ever been raised during the festive fundraising drive, smashing last year's record of 9,000.

The Rev Bob White, Canon of St Mary's Church, said: 'We've been running this for about eight or nine years, with donations being collected from all over south east Hampshire. The idea is that everyone gives a 5 voucher inside a Christmas card. It's a very simple thing to do - people just pick one up when they're shopping.

'We guarantee it gets passed on.'

'The premise is that homeless people don't have the gift of choice, and to give them a voucher gives them that gift.

'But we don't just help the homeless at Christmas, the church's Homeless Action runs throughout the year.'