Comfort and Joy: Christmas campaign launched to spread festive kindness and raise thousands for 10 Portsmouth charities

KINDNESS and love will boost spirits across the city as a Christmas campaign brings together people from all backgrounds in the community.

Monday, 30th November 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 1st December 2020, 8:58 am

Today, The News is launching our Comfort and Joy campaign in partnership with St Mary’s Church, Hive Portsmouth and Portsmouth City Council.

The return of this popular festive drive will see people across the area donating vouchers to help 10 charities supporting those in need.

As Christmas will look different for almost everyone this year, Comfort and Joy is expanding on its previous offering to encourage residents to reach out to neighbours who might be lonely to spread some care and respect.

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Launch of this the 2020 Comfort and Joy campaign. Pictured: Lord Mayor, Rob Wood and Father Bob White with Hive team, Sandie Davis, Katy Walsh and Caroline Haworthat the Portsmouth Guildhall Walk on 26 November 2020. Picture: Habibur Rahman

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Canon Bob White, vicar of St Mary’s Church, said: ‘Earlier in the year the With Thankful Hearts Harvest campaign was overwhelmingly supported by people across the city.

‘We hope that Comfort and Joy will build on previous Christmas voucher schemes in helping us all to offer some comfort and joy to our neighbours and those who may feel isolated or marginalised in our community.

‘In what has been a challenging year and continues to be unsettling times, we can all help to share something of the Christmas message.’

Stop Domestic Abuse are one of the charities being supported by the Comfort and Joy voucher appeal. Pictured: Stop Domestic Abuse staff, Rachel Windebank, Carla Payne, CEO Claire Lambon, Chelsea Haslett, Czarina Jacobs and Paige Merrett with some vouchers outside their office in Havant on 26 November 2020. Picture: Habibur Rahman

This year, organisers are inviting everyone to write a Christmas card or two to send to a neighbour or someone in their street who might be alone at Christmas.

Kind gestures will be even more important this year after a tough time with the pandemic.

This campaign follows The Newsrecent call for the community to sign up with Age UK to phone someone lonely this Christmas.

Thousands of pounds will be raised for good causes including Stop Domestic Abuse, the Roberts Centre and Friends Without Borders through the voucher scheme this year, which gives the gift of choice to people in need.

Mark Waldron, editor of The News, said: ‘We are so pleased to be once more working with partners across our great city for our annual Christmas campaign.

‘This year the need to share a little comfort and joy with those most in need is more important than ever.

‘So again we look to the kindness and generosity of our readers to help spread the seasonal spirit of goodwill to all in our communities.’

To get involved with the voucher scheme, simply buy a Christmas card and write a message, without including your name and address, and purchase a gift voucher of £5 to put inside the card.

Do not seal the envelope, and place the Christmas card into one of the festive postboxes in the area which can be found at Tesco stores in Havant, Fratton, Gosport and Portsmouth’s Crasswell Street.

Alternatively, send a gift card, cash or cheque payable to St Mary’s Church in the post to St Mary’s Vicarage, Fratton Road, Portsmouth, PO1 5PA or hand in at St Mary’s Church any morning between 9am and midday.

The deadline for receiving donations on December 18, after which time the donations will be distributed to the good causes.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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