Retail giant Amazon thrills Portsmouth charities with donation

ONLINE retail giant Amazon has thrown its weight behind an effort to support the area's homeless and needy residents '“ by donating £500.

Thursday, 5th January 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 12:41 pm

The cash is being split between two good causes, the Society of St James and The Roberts Centre.

The international web store, which has a depot in Fareham, rallied to do its bit to help after being approached by The News.

Trevor Pickup is the chief executive of the Society of St James, which helps thousands of homeless people across Hampshire.

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The organisation has been offered a contract to support the homeless and those battling substance misuse and drug addiction in Portsmouth.

Mr Pickup said Amazon’s £300 donation would provide bedding, toiletries and towels for dozens of people using the emergency winter shelter at Hope House, in Milton Road, Milton, each night.

He said: ‘We’re running the emergency beds on a shoestring, so it will be fabulous to have a bit more equipment to use.

‘People are turning up here with their possessions in carrier bags.

‘They don’t have towels and toothbrushes. We’re getting through huge volumes of that stuff because the homeless take them with them after they have used them. So this donation is very welcome.’

The remaining £200 has gone towards helping the Landport-based charity The Roberts Centre.

The good cause supports more than 1,000 needy families from across the Portsmouth area – more than 2,000 people in all.

All the cash will be spent on essential cooking supplies to help homeless families living in temporary accommodation.

Reacting to the donation, Carole Damper, chief executive of the centre, said: ‘It’s amazing. One can get the view the big organisations and companies aren’t in touch with the problems that people are facing.

‘It’s quite reassuring for the people of Portsmouth that somebody from Amazon HQ – which is so far away – has reached out to offer help.’

The windfall comes as the charity, based in Crasswell Street, marks its 30th anniversary this year.

Last week Carole issued a rallying cry to Portsmouth to help it with fundraising during 2017.

It comes after the organisation was named as the charity partner of this year’s world-renowned Goodwood Festival of Speed.

The deal is expected to generate thousands of pounds for The Roberts Centre.

Speaking to The News last week about the link-up with the Festival of Speed, Carole said: ‘This is an amazing opportunity.

‘It’s one of the biggest events in the southern calendar. It’s just extraordinary, really. So many more people will know about us and know about the work we do.

‘This is the most amazing news we have ever had.’

It is hoped this cash will go towards a major fundraising campaign, launched by the centre this year, which aims to create a brand-new, purpose-built facility in the heart of the city.

The initial phase of the fundraising challenge is expected to cost about £200,000.

The aim is to bring all the charity’s services under one roof, instead of in two different buildings.