COMFORT AND JOY: You can help turn a life around, says food kitchen manager

Volunteers and service users at a special Christmas meal at the LifeHouse in Southsea
Volunteers and service users at a special Christmas meal at the LifeHouse in Southsea
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YOU can help to transform the life of someone less fortunate this Christmas.

That’s the message to readers of The News from the manager of a city food kitchen – one of 11 causes uniting for our Comfort and Joy Christmas Campaign.

We’re asking people to donate a £5 supermarket voucher to someone in need.

One of the organisations set to benefit from your generosity is The LifeHouse in Albert Road, Southsea.

As a food kitchen, the initiative caters for rough sleepers in the city of all ages twice-a-week.

Now, as Christmas comes around again, manager Lesley Wenden says Comfort and Joy has the chance to make a real difference.

She said: ‘This is an absolutely wonderful campaign. The people we work with who receive these lovely gifts are given a choice when they receive them – the choice to buy something a little bit special, aside from the necessities they need just to live.

‘It’s a gesture that shows that somebody out there is thinking about them and, at a time like Christmas, that is so important. It can really mean a lot.’

As a volunteer at LifeHouse, Lesley has seen first-hand how service users – who often arrive tackling issues from addiction to mental health – can turn their lives around with a support network behind them.

She said: ‘We have an amazing team of about 30 volunteers here. Of course we are a food kitchen, but we offer the people who come to us amazing care and support as well, often training them to become volunteers with us.

‘We took in one gentleman who experienced a tragedy in the family. He had taken to the streets because he couldn’t keep up with what was going on.

‘Within a year of coming to us, he had found himself a small place to live and was a volunteer with us and another charity. It’s amazing to see how a life can be turned around.’

The LifeHouse offers cooked breakfasts to its service users every Wednesday from 9am until midday.

On a Thursday evening, from 7pm until 8.30pm, users can return for a hot, nutritious dinner.

Touching on the impact a donation to the Comfort and Joy campaign can have among the LifeHouse’s service users, Lesley said: ‘The people who come to us don’t expect these gifts – it really is a nice surprise for them.

‘It lights up their faces and makes them feel like somebody out there loves and cares for them.’

All donated vouchers to Comfort and Joy will be distributed among 11 charities and good causes in the News area in time for Christmas.

To see how your donation could help, read our case studies at