Hostel gives thanks for vouchers from News Comfort and Joy campaign

Bringing festive cheer to Catherine Booth House this Christmas will be a share of vouchers from The News Comfort and Joy Campaign.

Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 12:01 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th December 2019, 5:11 pm
Staff and residents at Catherine Booth House, Southsea. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Thanks to donations by members of the public, the hostel run by The Salvation Army in Portsmouth is one of 11 charities benefiting from the campaign, run in partnership with Churches Homeless Action.

Gillian Suckley, service manager at Catherine Booth House, said: ‘We provide accommodation for families who have been unintentionally made homeless with support needs.

‘We are always full and always have people on the waiting list.’

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‘We also provide a life skills programme to help them eventually move back into the community with a network of support.’

The accommodation block in St Paul’s Road, Southsea, opened in 2009 and is home to 21 families – couples with children, single male and female parent families and expectant mothers – who live in self-contained, furnished flats.

For these individuals who may have no family and friends to support them, Christmas can be a difficult time of year.

‘Christmas can be a hard period,’ adds Gillian.

‘Some of the families haven’t got a family network so a lot of them stay at Catherine Booth House over Christmas.’

Catherine Booth House will be receiving a share of £5 gift vouchers when the Comfort and Joy Campaign concludes at the end of this week which will be shared among the individuals housed there.

Gillian, 58, said: ‘The vouchers will be used with the support of staff to help Christmas be a happier, festive time for them.

‘Every family is unique, so some will spend it on food, maybe gifts or something else.

‘Some of the families have quite a few children so it will be individual to each family.’

Vouchers are now being counted before being handed to charity representatives at a carol service held at midday on Friday at St Mary’s Church in Fratton Road, Portsmouth. There will be the chance to listen to people from the agencies speak about what the campaign means to individuals and families.

THE COMFORT AND JOY CAMPAIGN

Tesco stores in Fratton, Cosham, Fareham and Crasswell Street, Portsmouth, have taken in The News Comfort and Joy Christmas campaign letterboxes so members of public can post their £5 vouchers.

The News Comfort and Joy Campaign, which launched at the end of November, works in partnership with Churches Homeless Action to provide gift vouchers for the city’s most vulnerable individuals at Christmas.

The campaign will benefit 11 local charities who support those who are homeless, recovering from addiction, victims of domestic abuse, seeking asylum and struggling families.

Those charities 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

- The 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

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 letterboxes will also be in stores until December 17 and then will be handed to the eleven charities at a carol service at St Mary’s Church, Fratton, on December 20.

To learn more about how a £5 Comfort and Joy donation could change a life, read case studies at portsmouth.co.uk.