‘Helping others is essence of Christmas’

Ken Ebbens
Ken Ebbens
From left,  Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire Nigel Atkinson, county provincial grand master of the freemasons Mike Wilks, and  Lord Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight Maj Gen Martin White

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Ken Ebbens is a member of Healthwatch Portsmouth. Here, he tells us about the work Hope House does to help homeless people.

Did you ever come across Mill House?

If so are you aware it is now Hope House?

Let me tell you more

Hope House is in Milton Road, the entrance being in the long brick wall at the side of St Mary’s hospital, heading out of town.

It is a place where homeless people from Portsmouth can have shelter and help and is now run by the Salvation Army.

Many people who attend suffer from mental health problems; a sobering thought as the so-called – for some people – festive season is on the horizon.

So how can you help make Christmas a little brighter for people in need of care and attention?

Hope House need clothing, books, jigsaws, and small household items – but not electrical – among other things.

They have a large store room. When unfortunate people turn up and have nothing, they can clothe and help them as well as giving them a bed for a while.

If the people are lucky enough to be given a home in the community, Hope House will provide a box with some useful household items in.

A lovely lady who helps all she can, my friend Thelma Turner-Hill, has spoken with the manager of Hope House.

She made an arrangement that, if someone is admitted to The Orchards, the intensive care unit at St. James’ psychiatric hospital, arrives with no clothing, benefits, family or carers then a member of staff from The Orchards can go to Hope House and obtain clothing for them.

Many people admitted to the ward are very ill, alone and ‘out of the system’.

They have nothing in the world, and no-one to help them.

Thelma is a carer of a son with mental health problems and involved with two carer groups.

When she last appealed to carers she received a wonderful response.

Thelma often visits Hope House with a car full of lovely items.

This is about helping local homeless people and local people with acute mental health problems.

Just pop into Hope House and the staff will willingly take the gifts from you.

Thelma will tell you that just a small thing from any of you could make a vast difference to somebody this Christmas who is not able to help themselves properly.

If you can help or would like further information please contact Laurie or Claire on (023) 9273 6544.

After all, isn’t helping others the essence of Christmas?