Comfort and Joy: Vouchers from community will be the 'rainbow' for homeless people this Christmas

ORDINARY people doing extraordinary things will be a rainbow to those in need this Christmas, according to a charity boss.

Wednesday, 9th December 2020, 7:00 am
28/11/19 Launch of The News Comfort and Joy campaign at St Mary's Church, Fratton Rd, Portsmouth. Pictured: Carol Damper of the Roberts Centre. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Families supported by the Roberts Centre in Portsmouth will be the lucky recipients of a share of vouchers donated by the public to the Comfort and Joy campaign.

The Roberts Centre helps families across Portsmouth, Havant and Gosport who are homeless or struggling to improve circumstances for their family.

Carole Damper, chief executive of the charity, said: ‘Since Churches Homeless Action set up the voucher scheme we have been fortunate enough to be beneficiaries. It has made a world of difference.

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Jade and Judith sorting out gifts for families at the Roberts Centre

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‘Nobody needs to help someone else but the fact that they want to help someone else is incredibly inspiring.

‘We’re very lucky at the Roberts Centre because we get to give out the gifts. The people who donate them don’t get that opportunity but people need to know they might be the rainbow for somebody.’

This year, the festive giving campaign backed by The News has expanded to include the encouragement for people to reach out to friends and neighbours who might be on their own this Christmas.

Comfort and Joy Christmas campaign logo 2020

Carole added: ‘The idea that people might send a card to someone in their street or a friend or neighbour is lovely.

‘Everybody suffered this year in one way or another, whether it’s through anxiety or worrying about their job. For so many people it must be such a scary time - out of adversity comes an enormous sense of goodness.’

Hard circumstances caused by the pandemic including lost jobs, redundancies, closed businesses and more have meant even more families will be homeless this Christmas.

Carole and her team at the Roberts Centre have worked hard throughout this year to continue to support families through the tough times.

Carole said: ‘Like everyone else, we have had to adapt and find different ways of working. The biggest issue is the amount of people who have been made homeless.

‘We have expanded our work because there are so many more homeless families. Places like the Roberts Centre shouldn’t really exist. It’s not a great thing to say we’re expanding our work but we have and like everyone else we’re crossing our fingers and toes for the future.’


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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