Drayton couple 'adopt' family in Portsmouth to give them a good Christmas

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Couples and individuals across the area are helping a charity ensure families have a good Christmas.

The initiative, now called Family Friends, started in 2017 when Lorraine and Alan Ham, from Drayton, came up with the idea of donating goods to a particular family in the area. 

Lorraine Ham (66) and her husband Alan (67) from Drayton, got in touch with editor of The News, Portsmouth, Mark Waldron in 2017 to say they wanted to adopt a family for Christmas. Mark put them in contact with the Roberts Centre who let them anonymously adopt a family and they have done every year. They either send Christmas gifts or essentials that the family may need.''Picture: Sarah Standing (031219-2800)

Lorraine Ham (66) and her husband Alan (67) from Drayton, got in touch with editor of The News, Portsmouth, Mark Waldron in 2017 to say they wanted to adopt a family for Christmas. Mark put them in contact with the Roberts Centre who let them anonymously adopt a family and they have done every year. They either send Christmas gifts or essentials that the family may need.''Picture: Sarah Standing (031219-2800)

Now the scheme has expanded with more than 52 families being adopted through The Roberts Centre, in Landport, and Lorraine said she is ‘amazed’ by how much it has grown. 

READ MORE: Rallying cry launches to pull Portsmouth's community together for Christmas to help city's needy

Lorraine, 66, said: ‘In 2017, we were going out of the country for Christmas so we didn’t have to buy presents. 

‘I come from a poor background. I remember my mum struggling in the 1950s so I know what it’s like not to have any money.

‘I decided to email Mark Waldron at The News, about adopting a family, who then put me in touch with the Roberts Centre. 

‘I said we wanted to help a family who have had a really rotten year and take the pressure off of them at Christmas.’ 

The Hams were the first people to adopt a family in the region but the recipients have remained anonymous. The only details they receive of the parents and children they have adopted are their names, ages, clothes size and interests. 

‘We then get a few presents and treats – all the stuff we take for granted,' added Lorraine.  

‘We have been doing it for two years now but we also decided to help them in January too with things we don’t think about, like washing powder or soap.’ 

The Roberts Centre is a Portsmouth-based charity which helps those who are struggling to improve their family’s difficult circumstances whether from homelessness or family breakdown. 

Carole Damper, chief executive of The Roberts Centre, said: ‘We help roughly 1,000 families and 2,500 children each year.

‘The Family Friends initiative has blown me away – I already have people signing up for next year.

‘This time of year can be tight for everyone and yet people can still be so caring and loving. Lorraine and Alan should be very proud because this was their idea.’ 

The Roberts Centre is one of the charities benefiting from The News’ Comfort and Joy Campaign this year.

‘We have worked with the campaign for a couple of years now and think it’s amazing. A £5 voucher can make such a difference,’ added Carole.