City hostel manager says News campaign donation can give people dignity

(Back row, l-r)  Major Bill Dolling, Hope House Lifehouse service manager Paula Martin, support worker Jessica Rockett and specialist support worker Fiona Allen. (Front row, l-r) Assistant support worker Angie Simmons, support worker Kevin Rogers and programme co-ordinator Claire Hague   Picture : Habibur Rahman
(Back row, l-r) Major Bill Dolling, Hope House Lifehouse service manager Paula Martin, support worker Jessica Rockett and specialist support worker Fiona Allen. (Front row, l-r) Assistant support worker Angie Simmons, support worker Kevin Rogers and programme co-ordinator Claire Hague Picture : Habibur Rahman
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SIX days are left to make a donation to The News Comfort and Joy Christmas campaign.

With a one-off donation of a £5 supermarket gift card, you can show someone in need in the city that you care.

One of the 11 good causes set to benefit from the campaign is the Hope House Lifehouse.

Based in Milton Road, Southsea, the centre provides fully-furnished accommodation for up to 24 people who are experiencing homelessness, mental health problems and substance misuse.

Users, aged between 18 and 65, are referred directly to the service through Portsmouth City Council, as well as probation, mental health and prison services.

Paula Martin, 49, is Hope House Lifehouse’s service manager. Talking about the impact a Comfort and Joy donation could make to her clients, she said: ‘Christmas is a happy time for many, but also one of great sadness for others and this is why the voucher campaign is very worthwhile indeed.

‘For someone who has little or nothing, a simple act of festive kindness, such as receiving a £5 voucher, which they can use to buy someone else or themselves a Christmas gift, is absolutely priceless and it brings the spirit of Christmas to them.’

Service users at Hope House Lifehouse can stay in its accommodation for any period of time between one night and two years.

During their tenancy – which costs them £14.91 a week if they receive benefits – they have regular meetings with the site’s 12 full-time staff. And workers offer clients help with training, employment and life skills, including cooking, budgeting and personal hygiene.

Clients who pass through the service and find new homes are then given continuing support.

By donating to The News Comfort and Joy Christmas campaign, Paula said you could give hostel users ‘dignity’ during the festive season.

She said: ‘The Christmas voucher campaign also lets them know that someone out there does care for them. I’d like to thank everyone involved for their generosity.’

To learn more about Hope House Lifehouse, visit salvationarmy.org.uk.

TO get involved with this year’s Comfort and Joy Christmas Campaign, follow these steps.

1) Buy a Christmas card and write a message (please do not include your name and address).

2) Purchase a supermarket gift card of £5.

3) Put the gift card into the Christmas card envelope but do not seal the envelope.

4) Place in a larger envelope (seal this one) and send to Deanery Office, St Faith’s Church, Crasswell Street, Portsmouth PO1 1HT or pop it in the collection box at Tesco Extra, Fratton.