Christmas arrives in Leigh Park four months early - to drum up support for area's foodbank

Help us to help those who are less fortunate at Christmas - say the organisers of the Leigh Park PO9 Foodbank. (left to right) Darren McKenna, Charlie Lawrence, Addieson Lawrence (11), Millie-Mai Rose (7), Michelle Smith, Maila-Marie Rose (6), Marshall Henson (10) and Marc Maran ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (190829-6938)
Help us to help those who are less fortunate at Christmas - say the organisers of the Leigh Park PO9 Foodbank. (left to right) Darren McKenna, Charlie Lawrence, Addieson Lawrence (11), Millie-Mai Rose (7), Michelle Smith, Maila-Marie Rose (6), Marshall Henson (10) and Marc Maran ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (190829-6938)
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IT’S beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Leigh Park - only four months before the big day.

Neighbours from a block of flats in Woodcot Crescent have prematurely decked the halls to gather some much-needed support for the PO9 Foodbank.

(left to right) Charlie Lawrence, Michelle Smith, and Marc Maran ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (190829-6962)

(left to right) Charlie Lawrence, Michelle Smith, and Marc Maran ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (190829-6962)

The idea started when resident Marc Maran was joking with his neighbour that he is always the last person to put his decorations up each festive period.

The pair decided to transform their hallway into a winter wonderland, complete with tree and tinsel, to gather donations ahead of the busiest time for charities.

Marc, creator of popular Facebook group Leigh Park Pictures and Memories, said: ‘So much goes on at Christmas, these charities all get swallowed up. A lot of families struggle all year round and especially at Christmas. 

‘There will be a box outside to put donations of tins, jars, bottles of squash, dog and cat food, plastic packets of pasta, rice and noodles for the PO9 Foodbank.’

The display has already stirred up interest with people stopping to taking photos, and a variety of donations have made their way into the box.

Marc is hoping the block’s location opposite a One Stop will mean people will grab a couple of extra items to donate when they visit the store.

According to Marc, the Leigh Park community is always looking out for each other, and he believes no one needs to be embarrassed if they need a little extra help by using a food bank.

The PO9 Foodbank collects and distributes food parcels to people in need in the PO9 area, to make sure no one in the community goes hungry.

Michelle Smith, who helps with the food bank, thinks the idea of the early Christmas display is ‘fantastic’.

Michelle, a part time key worker at Havant Academy, said: ‘We help the community with any item they need. We have helped 67 families so far with school uniform, and given 85 pencil cases for secondary schools.

‘People who work can struggle just as much as people on benefits. If I can help, I will. That’s why I work part time, because if I worked full time I would have to stop this.’