While for some it's a time to celebrate, those without a home can struggle. However help is on hand through Two Saints – the charity which provides accommodation for the homeless across Hampshire, West Sussex and the Isle of Wight.
Kate Gladders, Portsmouth area manager for Two Saints, said: ‘We provide supported accommodation for young people who are homeless or who have had to leave the care system because they are too old, as well as those who are over 18 and need somewhere to live.'
Two Saints run two hostels in the Portsmouth area which house both young people and adults. Hope House, in Milton Road, offers 32 rooms for those aged over 18 while Portsmouth Foyer, Greetham Street, provides accommodation for young people aged between 16-25.
Kate, 45, explains: ‘They may have been through care or lived with parents who are also struggling. The hostels are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
‘We aim to get them ready to live independently and be part of the community.
‘As well as providing accommodation, we also offer advice and support the needs that may have led to homelessness in the first place, such as substance abuse, family breakdown or mental health issues.’
Two Saints was founded in 2001 as a result of a merger between two organisations called St Petroc’s and St Dismas’.
This Christmas, readers of The News will ensure they have gift vouchers – as Portsmouth Foyer, Hope House and Two Saints are named among the 11 beneficiaries of our Comfort and Joy Campaign.
Kate says the individuals who will benefit from the £5 supermarket vouchers, donated by the public, gives them a boost.
‘For most of our clients, they are on very low incomes and Christmas especially can be a hard time of year,’ said Kate.
‘Although many are still in contact with their family and friends, they may use their voucher to buy a present for them or they may buy something nice for themselves.
‘Everyone is on a tight budget these days but it’s nice to think people in the local community still care about the homeless.’
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.