Comfort and Joy: £5 donation can help young victims of ‘hidden homelessness’ in Portsmouth 

Community support worker Laura Davis, four young people from Portsmouth Foyer and support worker Megan Penney at Portsmouth Pride. Picture: Two Saints
Community support worker Laura Davis, four young people from Portsmouth Foyer and support worker Megan Penney at Portsmouth Pride. Picture: Two Saints

FOR many young people who arrive at the Portsmouth Foyer life is ‘as difficult as it is going to get’.

The service, run by Two Saints, takes referrals from Portsmouth City Council and offers more than 50 beds to 16-to-25-year-olds facing homelessness. 

Because of the ‘complex’ needs and issues they have, service workers say the fact clients have nowhere to live is often all they have in common.

But this Christmas, readers of The News will ensure they have gifts to share – as Portsmouth Foyer is named among the 11 beneficiaries of our Comfort and Joy campaign.

The drive invites you to donate a £5 supermarket voucher to our chosen charities, and according to Two Saints area manager Katherine Gladders, the effects can be huge. 

READ MORE: Portsmouth Comfort and Joy: How you can help vulnerable people this Christmas

‘£5 to someone who has nothing makes a massive impact, but more than the monetary value, they know they are on the mind of people who live in the local area,’ she said. 

‘We use the Christmas vouchers to get presents for clients because many do not have the family or friends who would stop and think about them.

‘We use it to give them extra income so they themselves can buy gifts for loved ones if they have them.

‘And on top of that we stagger some vouchers, so if a client has a job interview for example – and they need a new shirt or shoes – we can give them monetary support over the year.’ 

READ MORE: Roberts Centre boss says donations make a ‘world of difference’ to struggling families

Young people at the Portsmouth Foyer face difficulties ranging from mental health and debt to changes in the benefits system and behavioural issues which make life in a family home impossible.

Foyer workers say these issues are often what makes them homeless in the first place, and sadly, this kind of ‘hidden homelessness’ is on the up.

But from the day clients arrive at the Portsmouth Foyer, they embark on a journey which sees them equipped with life skills and care from agencies across the area.

Katherine said: ‘We provide them with the support needed to alleviate their situation.

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

‘Putting a roof over their head is the main part of what we do, but the ultimate goal is to give them independence.’

You can donate to our Comfort and Joy campaign at Tesco superstores in Fratton, North Harbour, Fareham and Gosport.

How to make your donation 

- Buy a Christmas card and write a message inside (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 larger envelope (seal this one) and place in one of our special Comfort and Joy postboxes at Tesco stores across the area 

- Alternatively, send your envelope to: Deanery office, St Faith’s Church, Crasswell Street, Portsmouth, PO1 1HT. From here, donations will be counted up when the campaign closes and distributed to our 11 chosen charities