For some women in Hampshire, this Christmas could be the toughest yet.
They may have escaped an abusive relationship and what lies ahead could be daunting.
But with the support of Stop Domestic Abuse – which is one of the 11 organisations benefiting from our Comfort and Joy Christmas campaign – women can get their lives back on track and have hope this Christmas.
Jo Eamey, the charity’s business support and development director, said: ‘We have been involved with the campaign for many years now and the people who benefit are from across the Hampshire area.
‘We have families come in to the refuge with very little in terms of possessions and money so we are able to give them vouchers to get them started in their new life.’
Stop Domestic Abuse, previously known as Southern Domestic Abuse Service, educates people on domestic abuse but also provides refuge accommodation for women and children and community-based support for victims and survivors.
Jo, 43, explains: ‘For the women in our refuge, they are not in their own home and are finding their new way in life so the vouchers are a positive thing.
‘Christmas can be a very tight time financially so the vouchers can go towards presents for their children or even just a treat for themselves.'
As part of the Comfort and Joy Campaign, the Havant-based charity will receive a share of the vouchers donated by the public at Christmas.
‘For many, it will be their first Christmas in a long time where they are not in an abusive relationship and they will be building new, happy memories,’ added Jo.
‘It’s still a very hopeful time for them though because they can finally have the Christmas they want.'
Stop Domestic Abuse are proud to be part of the campaign and Jo believes that it’s even more important because it's community based.
Jo said: ‘The women are always really grateful and pleased. It shows them that people care about them and what they have gone through.
‘It’s hard to estimate the amount of families the campaign has supported. But we’re so grateful for the support we have had over the years as we have grown as an organisation.’
How you can help and the charities that will benefit from the Christmas campaign
To get involved, simply buy a Christmas card and write a message – but do not put your name or address.
Purchase a £5 supermarket gift card and put it into the card, but do not seal the envelope.
Then, place in a large envelope (seal this one) and place in a Tesco store post box or send to Deanery office, St Faith’s Church, Crasswell Street, Portsmouth, PO1 1HT, to arrive before December 17.
The charities which will benefit are:
Catherine Booth House (The Salvation Army): Providing support for homeless families – (023) 9273 6544
Friends Without Borders: Support for asylum seekers whilst their applications are processed – (023) 9283 9222
Hope House (Two Saints): Provides night beds for rough sleepers – 01329 234600
Portsmouth Churches Housing Association: Runs three hostels for the homeless young families and single women – (023) 9229 7877
Portsmouth Foyer and All Saints Hostel (Two Saints): Supported accommodation for young people – (023) 9236 0001
Roberts Centre: Supports over 1000 families in the Portsmouth area – (023) 9229 6919
Society of St James: Outreach work with homeless people not engaging with other services and a day centre – (023) 9286 1423
Stop Domestic Abuse: Provides emergency respite for women and children – (023) 9248 0246
St Simon’s Church: Provides Sunday suppers and support for homeless people – (023) 9282 9440
Two Saints: For homeless people in Fareham, Gosport, Havant and Portsmouth – 01329 234600
The LifeHouse: A drop-in for people whose lives are affected by homelessness and addiction, offering hot meals and clothing – 07713 198 045